Indepth Arts News: |
"Hu Yang's: Shanghai Living"
2005-09-24 until 2005-11-02
Observing the immense changes Chinas modernization has on life 'behind ones own four walls', Shanghainese photographer Hu Yang decided to document Shanghai people in their homes. The beginning of a grand narrative project. In intense 14 month between 2004 and 2005, Hu Yang visited over 500 people in Shanghai to take pictures of them in their living environment.
WEI Yufang (Shandongese, Vendor)
We have miserable life. Battercake and salted vegetable for every meal, accompanied by plain water. When the kids cry for meat dishes, I just cook an egg. As long as it is not rainy, I go out and do my business 15 or 16 hours a day, getting up very early and back home very late. I hope the kids can be good at their study. Even with debts, I will send them to college, noT as illiterate as I am. My oldest son works very hard and always brings back awards every semester, which makes my so happy. Some evil people often spite me on my fruit stall, and it makes me really sad.
Hu Yang entered the homes as a 'familiar stranger'. His un-defined position as a kind of 'unfamiliar familiar', somebody who belongs and still comes from somewhere else, gave him access to a broad range of people – from poor to rich, native to immigrants etc. - allowed him to enter their private home in this dense city, to take photos and short interviews. The result is a unique documentary of private life in a city of rapid change, where homes become more private, discrepancies in life stile big, and where private life is still trying to find its shape.
Hu Yang doesn't picture heroes, nor victims, he doesn't expose nor beautify, he keeps the same cool-sympathetic distance to everybody. It is a research.
In the exhibition there are just 100 people, 100 images, 100 life stories, very short stories, assertions, dreams and fears. A grand narrative. Close to life. Close to art.