Between Past and Future
Liu Zheng
Liu Zheng, Two Rich Men, New Year’s Eve, Beijing (1999). Influenced by the earlier work of August Sander and Diane Arbus, Liu Zheng has created an extensive series of contemporary portraits that reflect a dark vision of the people of mainland China. In these works, he seeks to isolate archetypal traits of his countrymen as revealed in unusual situations. Acutely sensitive to what he calls the “unhappy, tragic elements” of Chinese culture, Liu says, “When I am shooting pictures ostensibly depicting moments of relaxed leisure, I am really aiming to show that the persons in these scenes are neither relaxed nor happy.”
Ma Liuming
Liu Zheng
In the past two decades, China’s urban life has been completely transformed. A massive building program has created sprawling skyscraper cities, and at the same time tens of thousands of city dwellers have been displaced from the inner city to the outskirts. These conditions have brought about a growing alienation between the city and its residents: they no longer belong to each other. The works in this section both reflect and respond to the new textures of China’s metropolitan culture.
Asia Society History and Memory Reimaging the Body People and Place Performing the Self International Center of Photography
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