The rapidly changing landscape of urban China is the subject of artist Graham Fink’s solo photographic exhibition, opening at Riflemaker gallery in London today Monday 1st February. Over the course of five years, the artist (who’s work was recently on display at Shanghai Art Fair, 2014) has documented various demolition sites in and around Shanghai – the largest city by population in the world. The photographic series communicates the enormity of the transition that is taking place there as the country moves increasingly towards a large-scale urbanization and more workers relocate for employment in the manufacturing industries. Not only are new cities emerging but immense urban renewal efforts are underway.
These demolished areas sites are ‘exchange sites’, where the past is being obliterated and exchanged for the future, where a not-so-distant communism gives way to new ideas and structures – super skyscrapers, office buildings and new domestic ways of living. As a result, these sites are in constant flux – the entire areas are flattened to make way for new beginnings.
The matte and gloss treatment in the series gives each image a painterly quality – shaping the human aspects, stories and ‘ballads’ that pervade these ‘exchange sites’ – wallpaper clinging to a wall, a child’s drawing on a remnant of what was formerly a bedroom, a once favourite chair, now left for economy and industry to reclaim.
Riflemaker, 79 Beak Street, London W1, 020 7439 0000, www.riflemaker.org