China Imagined – Grote Kerk (Big Church) Breda

Grote Kerk (Big Church) Breda - Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kerk Breda |
Kerkplein 2 | Tu-Su: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. | paid exhibition

The Big Church (Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk) is a space that lends itself to do something special with it. This has certainly been achieved with the ‘China Imagined’ exhibition. The exhibition, curated by He Yining and Ruben Lundgren, gives an insight into contemporary Chinese photography. In China today, people enjoy the conveniences provided by science and technology for their personal lives. Intelligent payment, the share economy and artificial intelligence created a growing middle class and a booming economy. This new reality however, comes with problems such as surveillance and privacy disclosure. At the same time, behind the deterioration of the living environment lay the fruits of 30 years of tree planting and behind the lack of resources lies the exploration of clean energy. In times of strong polarisation it seems harder to accept that progress and backwardness sometimes coexist.

In total He Yining and Ruben Lundgren programmed twenty photographers for the exhibition. The work that has been selected is very diverse. Feng Li is a photographer who captures strange, almost surreal scenes that he comes across on the street. Zhang Kechun takes photos of classical Chinese landscapes. These are in stark contrast to the very personal, intimate portraits of Chinese girls by the photographer Luo Yang. Hilarious and humorous are the images that Pixy Liao made of herself and her boyfriend from the series ‘experimental relationship’. With this exhibition, He Yining and Ruben Lundgren want to provide more insight into today’s China, in other words, as they themselves say, “close a gap between Western and Chinese society”.

In these corona-virus times He Yining and Ruben Lundgren feel the urgency of exhibitions like these to help bridge an undeniably gap of incomprehension between western and Chinese audiences. China Imagined presents over 20 visual projects made by both Chinese and foreign photographers, artists and archivists covering contemporary issues and developments within China. This exhibition will be the first major survey of Chinese contemporary photography covering the past decade.
An overview of all photographers exposing at China Imagined is included below.

He Yining (b. 1986, China)

Curator and writer He Yining graduated from the London College of Communication. For over a decade she has been working independently specialising in photographic and visual art. Her practice is principally focused on the way in which photography is able to freely straddle the boundaries of fine art, responding to and raising questions about contemporary, historical and social issues through interdisciplinary means. These curatorial projects have been held in museums, galleries and other institutes in both China and Europe. Among her most recognised projects are “Photography in the British Classroom” (2016), “The Port and the Image” (2017) and “Abode of Anamneis” (2019)

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Ruben Lundgren (b.1983, the Netherlands)

Beijing based photographer and curator Ruben Lundgren graduated from the University of the Arts Utrecht in 2005 and moved to China soon after where he finished his masters degree at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. He made name within the conceptual photography duo WassinkLundgren with publications as “Empty Bottles” (2007) and “Tokyo Tokyo” (2010). FOAM showed a retrospect of their works in 2013. The projects often develop from small observations or humorous twists from everyday life combining a social antennae with the interest how the photography medium can deform reality. He now works as a photographer for Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant and as an independent curator of Chinese photography. Together with Martin Parr he co-edited “The Chinese Photobook” (2015) and with Timothy Prus he published “MeNu” (2018) a tasty collection of Chinese vernacular food photography.

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