Artiste: CHEN Nong







RAIBAUDI WANG Gallery is delighted to present SILK ROAD, the first exhibition of Chinese photographer CHEN Nong in France. CHEN Nong is known for his grandiose staged and hand-colored photographs.The history- related subjects, cinematic narrative style, and labor-intensive photographic approach he employs, setting him apart in Chinese photography since the turn of the century. 

Along with the tremendous changes in modernization and industrialization, China has experienced a long period of cultural and historical abruption. Old landscapes, cultures, traditions, customs and social structures have been replaced by new models. The relationship between proud ancient civilizations and daily lifes in contemporary society has become alienated. Also, the relationship among society, individuals and history has become blurred, inexplicit and is even sometimes full of contradictions.

In the 21st century, the contemporary China, after an economic boom, is trying to rebuild the connection between individuals, collective and history in some ways. This is a cultural nostalgia in the modern sense. New traditionalism, neo-Confucianism, literature, aesthetics, classical lifestyles and the learning of local folklore history are nourishing and enriching a “cultural memory” of a giant country.

Under such a socio-cultural context, Chinese artists, like Chen Nong, regard Chinese civilization, cultural traditions, history, and memory as the most precious creative resources and express them through contemporary art.

Chen integrated the past of different periods and places into a coherent space, showing the origin, development, and extinction of human civilization in Silk Road. Rather than photographing realistic photographs, Chen created filmic images by mixing up historical events with personal imagination. Indeed, each photograph discloses Chen’s interpretation of history and mythology, as well as his respect for traditional Chinese culture. By arranging figures and events in a long horizontal format, and applying rich historical and cultural symbols, Chen’s photographs are able to evoke our knowledge and imagination, allowing us to re-examine the past and reflect on the fast socio-cultural development. Besides, these photographs recall us a particular culture of the past that hand- colored photographs so common before the popularization of color film, as Chen drew colors and added vantage effects to his black-and- white photographs.

During the exhibition, we’ll present Chen Nong’s latest work, Silk Road, that the artist started in 2015, comprising three parts.The second and third part are still ongoing, they aim to reveal people’s lives and spirit in Xinjiang, where the most well-known route of the historical Silk Road ran through its territory from the east to its northwestern border.

These two parts are planned to show more concrete aspects of domestic family life in independent stories.The first part consists of 16 images. These images show eight pairs of imaginary stories that are based on the history of Xinjiang, such as business conduct, the disappearance of villages, marriages, and weddings.

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