China always had a conventional view: Dai Xiang
Chinese artist Dai Xiang's work, The new along the river during the Qingming festival 2014, is drawing in art lovers at the biennale for its detailing and magnification of history through the lens of current times. The panoramic photo installation, 25 metres long, is comprised of more than 1,000 photographs and offers a 21st century interpretation of a work from the Song dynasity, the 12th century painting ‘River side scene at kim ming festival’ by Zhang Zeduan.
The characters and situations from the original painting of Zeduan are completely altered by Dai Xiang, as the artist portrays himself as a character in 90 photos out of the 1,000 characters in his work. Processing almost 10,000 layers of photos, Xiang’s work took nearly three years to complete. Xiang’s work has quickly become a topic of discussion in the social media, as the digital panorama offers impressions of the crisis and issues of modern China in its details. Chinese officials with the title ‘chenguan’ are shown in conflict with street vendors, real estate entrepreneurs forcing natives out of their houses, sex workers, luxury cars, scenes of accidents — amidst all of this, tourists walk with cameras in hand.
Xiang’s panorama includes real-life incidents, such as the death of three university students while trying to rescue children drowning in a river in 2009. “The representation of China, a nation which always had a conventional view, undergoing a conflict between westernisation and transformation after liberalisation is revealed in my panorama,” says Dai Xiang. “I’ve tried to incorporate vivid perspectives to portray an in-depth narrative,” he says.
At Aspinwall House, until March 29.