Chen Jiagang is an architect; after being involved in the creation of the Chinese cities of the XXIst century, he decided to part from the world of real estate in 2001, disgusted by corruption and the construction workers' labor conditions.
Close to the art circles, founder of an art gallery, he turned to photography. His former profession remained at the heart of his photographic work, with an interest in the territories, urbanisation, and life conditions in a country undergoing a complete transformation and makeover to the western standards.
With the series "The Third Front", Chen Jiagang denounces changing government policies that built "Third line" cities in the years after WWII and abandoned them in the 60's. In "Smog City", he shows the permanent presence of the smog that enshroudes most of the large industrial cities.
With Sample Room, in a more intellectualized manner, he stages scenes and situations - quite puzzling ones - involving a crowd of characters in what is the epitome of real estate development and its aggressive marketing : the sample rooms of model apartments. The scenes are a complex dramatization that includes strange characters in stranger or sometimes grotesque situations, meant to mock the yearn for possession, confort, and luxury as idealized from the western standards.
This book, for which we may not have all the codes, points the finger at people's illusions of grandeur, in a series of scenes that become more and more deconstructed.
An innovative work, in a strange and confusing book (beautifully designed and well-crafted too) that pushes a bit farther the limits of photographic storytelling.
72 pages – Hardcover, no DJ, in a slide-in case
Éditions Bessard, 2013
*Signed & Numbered*
New - Mint condition
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