The Artist Talkshow – 3 China Imagined

The Artist Talk Show - China Imagined
Sunday, September 27, 2020

The Artist Talk Show is a weekly talk show in which photographers, scientists, journalists and other guests discuss the theme of BredaPhoto 2020: ‘the best of times, the worst of times’. Each week, one topic will be discussed, using the work of photographers who exhibit at BredaPhoto 2020.

moderator: Christine de Baan, ROAM Foundation

He Yining

Ruben Lundgren

Xu Xiaoxiao

China Imagined is one of the highlights of BredaPhoto 2020 and in this Artist Talk Show both curators Ruben Lundgren and He Yining will look back on how they composed this exhibition. Photographer Xiaoxiao Xu will reflect on her work that is part of the exhibition ‘China Imagined’.

The exhibition China Imagined 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 polarization it seems harder to accept that progress and backwardness sometimes coexist.

Curator and writer He Yining graduated from the London College of Communication. For over a decade she has been working independently specializing 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 recognized projects are “Photography in the British Classroom” (2016), “The Port and the Image” (2017) and “Abode of Anamneis” (2019)

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 master’s 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” (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 antenna 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.

Photographer Xu Xiaoxiao was born in southeastern Qingtian near Wenzhou and immigrated to the Netherlands when she was 14. Spending half her life in the Netherlands changed her view on China. Her identity cannot be defined straightforwardly anymore, she is both an insider and an outsider. By photographing locations, people and objects that arouse confusing and alienating feelings, she manages to find a balance between her origins and her present life. She graduated from the Photo Academy in Amsterdam in 2009 and has worked on personal projects since then. In 2016 she published “Aeronautics in the Backyard”, a project that won numerous prestigious book awards over the last couple of years.

Moderator today is Christine de Baan,  curator, editor, strategic advisor and sometimes moderator in the field of art, architecture, urbanism and design. She  has a company, DEBAAN, and is the artistic director of ROAM foundation which initiates  cultural projects  aimed at a more sustainable and equitable future.
She has  a special connection with China. Between 2004 and 2016 she used to travel frequently to China for various work-related purposes. In 2006, she curated the exhibition China Contemporary | Visual Culture for the Netherlands Photo Museum, which was also aimed at conveying a sense of daily life in China at that time.