Chinese photography exhibition an Australian first at MGA - CHINA: grain to pixel
Address: 860 Ferntree GUlly Road Wheelers Hill VICTORIA 3150
Date: 5 June 2016 to 28 August 2016
Call: 03 8544 0500
Miss Wan Studies Hard 2011
archival ink-jet print
50.0 x 74.0 cm
reproduction courtesy of the artist
A story of photography in ChinaThe term ‘pixel’ is familiar to all. Less familiar is ‘grain’, a term used in the pre-digital age to describe the texture of a photograph. Variations of grain contribute to a timeless aesthetic beauty that is hard to emulate digitally, even with a zillion pixels. In swapping grains for pixels, photography has lost none of its power to capture compelling moments in daily life, human physiognomy, still life, nature or the imagination.
The transition from grain to pixel coincided with a period in which photography in China emerged as a fully rounded form of expression. As such, the title of this exhibition describes an arc of time stretching back almost one hundred years, a period in which photography entered China as a phenomenon and was transformed. It is a century through which the evolution of photography mirrored profound social and economic transformation; from an initial encounter with photography – that of China as the subject of the foreign lens – to the moment when Chinese photographers began turning the lens upon themselves, and photography found a fixed place in daily life.
Photography has become intrinsic to the way in which the world is seen and understood. The presence of the photograph in daily life is entwined with the complementary visual fields of advertising, marketing, propaganda and art. Drawing on a wide-range of images, China: grain to pixel presents a nuanced vision of Chinese society and creativity against the background of China’s own distinctive photographic endeavour.