Watch: Giles Huxley-Parlour introduces Zhang Kechun
Gallery director Giles Huxley-Parlour introduces the work of Zhang Kechun for his first exhibition in London, hosted by the gallery in 2016.
Born in 1980 in Sichuan, China, Zhang Kechun produces epic vistas that dwell on the significance of the landscape in modern Chinese national identity. Zhang’s first series The Yellow River documents the effects of modernisation along the third longest river in Asia. He found inspiration for the series in Chengzhi Zhang’s novel River of the North. The project took him on a journey along the river from the coastal flats of Shandong to the mountains of Qinghai on a fold-up bicycle, all the time carrying with him a large format Linhof camera.
Zhang’s second series, Between the Mountains and the Water, continued to explore the relationship between the people and the land on which they live and work. His sublime views of the industrial wastelands consuming rural China are invested with both political and sociological pertinence. Whilst he imbues the altered landscape of China with a tragic beauty, his photographs also are often witty, showing the frequently absurd scenarios in which the inhabitants of the river’s surroundings find themselves.