FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"The Floating World"
Photography by Sun Jiqiang, Danielle Shang & Juan Carlos Avendano
May 20 - July 8, 2006
Reception for the artists: Saturday, May 20, 7pm - 10pm
Bamboo Lane Gallery
418 Bamboo Lane, Chinatown Los Angeles, CA 90012
Web site, http://www.bamboolane.com
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 12-6pm
The photography exhibition at Bamboo Lane Gallery attempts to examine the powerful emotional and spiritual connection between the artists and their environments through the lens. We would like to make a special introduction to Mr. Sun Jiqiang, a renowned photographer from P. R. China and his Mt. Huashan sequence:
Sun was born in 1954 in the city of Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, in Southeast China. During his over thirty years in military service, Sun developed his initial interest in photography. After he left the military, Sun devoted himself to the landscape photography. The camera has become his vehicle to explore the world and his eyes to view the universe. To recognize his accomplishment, in May 2005, China's State Postal Bureau issued stamps from his "Mt. Huashan" series. The sequence was exhibited in the Chinese National Gallery of Art in April 2005. This was the very second solo photography exhibition ever given by the National Gallery. Such an honor is exceptionally rare in Chinese art history.
Sun Jiqiang's American debut at Bamboo Lane Gallery, Los Angeles, explores nature's spiritual influence of Mt. Huashan on the photographer. Mt. Huashan is one of China's five sacred mountains. Mt. Huashan boasts not only five imposing peaks with sheer precipices and over hanging rocks, but also places with historical and spiritual interest. Buddhist and Taoist temples and pavilions of its own style of architecture can be found everywhere. Many of the most celebrated Chinese kings and emperors had graced this mountain with their royal ceremonies, their pilgrims and their retreats. It is said that Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism, once lived and gave sermons here.
For the last couple of years, Sun has visited Mt. Huashan over 40 times. Like Ansel Adams, Sun's interest in artistic photography is not driven by commercial success; his creativity is purely inspired by his emotional connection with nature. It's understood that his work was done under the stimulus of a profound and mystical experience of the natural world. Examining the compositions of his works, a large void can be found in many his photos, which alludes to the traditional minimal Chinese composition. It's not unusual to see a long scroll of a traditional Chinese painting with an isolated subject at the bottom corner. This void creates room for further suggestiveness and balanced movement, so that the billowing clouds can venture out of the picture; the towering pine trees can stretch to the infinite; and the piercing cliffs can sprout through the sky. Sun gave dramatic interpretations of the magnificent beauty found in Mt. Huashan and unveiled her mystery.
Danielle Shang evokes the practice of psychogeography in her photographs. Although the photos were shot in different locations, Shang's intentions are to minimize viewers' interest in geographic identities, but to provoke viewers' interest in discovering scenes for potential narratives in banal and uncanny forms, shades and interactions. The images presented at this exhibition bear no consistent theme but a consistent style: minimalism. "No unnecessary object is included". To Shang, a building or a lantern or a dance or a child, each is a decided subject and a standing metaphor of emotion. Shang adopts a separate approach to her subject by purposely excluding people from the environment or the environment from people. The absence, enhanced by the strong sense of composition, is to symbolize our historical unconscious and to trigger an emotional echo. Taking advantage of the indexical nature of photography and the social reference of urban structures, Shang is testing the boundary of documentary and fiction.
The absence of geographic evidences in Shang's images is redeemed through Juan Carlos Avendano's urban landscape. Los Angeles' freeways provide Avendano with motifs for his photographs presented at this survey. The freeway system is unmistakably a key to Los Angeles' civil identity. By juxtaposing the motifs, Avendano has accomplished a close-up depiction of life in Los Angeles. The documentary-style representations are conceptual and vernacular. Avendano cleverly reveals the relation between vehicles, as icons of escape or arrival, and the freeways, as icons of the marginal site, that never serves as a destination. The curved floating lines and the lower vanishing point in each photo extend viewers' vision beyond the frame. The strategy succeeds in portraying the association between man and his urban space.