Ben Brown Fine Arts is thrilled to announce the gallery’s first exhibition of works by contemporary Chinese photographers Chen Wei, Cheng Ran, Jiang Pengyi and Ye Linghan. Curated by William Zhao, The Other Wave synthesizes various styles and trends of photography and video art. It is nothing new to talk of the extraordinary social, economic and cultural transformations that took place in China in the last decades of the twentieth century. In the West we have watched the fascinating ramifications of these developments in the arena of contemporary art. Photography and video art have proven themselves to be very much part of this story, both visually representing change and acting as agents of development.
In the 1980s in China the term ‘The New Wave’ was coined to describe an avant-garde art movement in which documentary photography played a central role. Some thirty years later, contemporary art in China is more dominated by photography and video art than ever, and yet it is an art form that is relatively slow to garner official recognition. In the wake of the high profile of contemporary Chinese painters, who shattered auction results in recent years, there is another generation emerging from China, with a voice demanding to be heard.
Chen Wei (b. 1980)
Chen Wei’s work is characterized by elaborate photographic scenes, featuring an assortment of found materials choreographed into a surreal studio like setting. In his preliminary work for each series, Chen Wei makes many sketches from which he frequently works to physically construct the envisioned scene. Each of Chen’s existing series takes a new subject and location as a starting point, from bus shelters to singular figures set in a dilapidated room.
Ye Linghan (b. 1985)
In Ye Linghan’s photographs and video-based works, one always finds links to the past and to collective histories. In The Spring of The Small Town, the artist deftly inverts the traditional importance of the photograph; the individual is no longer the focus, instead it is the scene and setting that takes prominence. Details are blurred with the haze of memory, imbuing the works with a sense of déjà vu, and leaving the viewer to project their own memories.
Cheng Ran (b. 1981)
Cheng Ran’s photographs and films are dramatically staged and infused with tones of romanticism throughout. Works from several series are exhibited in The Other Wave, however it is the heavily narrative-driven vein which is a constant throughout. The cinematic qualities of his work, particularly the barren photos of the iconic Hollywood sign (Ghost of Tundra), suggest the impact on the role cinema and Hollywood culture has played in shaping the image of America in the psyche of younger Chinese generations.
Jiang Pengyi (b. 1977)
The destructive forces of rapid urbanization, redevelopment and demolition that have overwhelmed Beijing for the last few decades are recurrent themes in the works of Jiang Pengyi. In his photographs of imagined cityscapes, still objects and massive skyscrapers are reduced to miniature sizes, set within the detritus of decaying domestic spaces.
The artists will be in attendance at the Private View and will be available for interviews. Please direct press requests to Whitney Ferrare at +44 20 7734 8888 or firstname.lastname@example.org