Having visited China, Singapore and Hong Kong over time, seeing first hand some of the traditional and the more contemporary Chinese art was stimulating and inspiring. The artists behind the more contemporary art I was privileged to view were using their art to comment on some of the controversial political issues.
The artist in the following excerpt has chosen a different path ‘becoming tired’ of the system among other things. It was quite a pilgrimage it seems.
THE SQUINTING ARTIST
Excerpt from THE ART NEWSPAPER (Newsletter) Thursday 21 March 2013
Chinese photographer travels countryside with mobile portrait studio
By Chris Gill. – Published online: 20 March 2013
Shanghai-based artist Maleonn (aka Ma Liang) has spent the last year (from February to November 2012) traveling around 25 Chinese provinces, photographing some of the 200,000 people in a mobile photo studio and posting the images on his Weibo account (the Chinese version of Twitter). “I became tired of contemporary art, the system, dealing with critics and curators behind closed doors. I wanted to do something with ordinary people,” Maleonn says.
He put out the idea on his Weibo account, and was overwhelmed by the response. Eventually he established a set of guidelines, such as a minimum of eight people per city, who would provide him and his team with food, somewhere to stay and a space to work. Over ten months, in a battered truck and a minivan, he then visited 35 cities around China, taking 1,600 portraits of people in contemporary Chinese society dressed up in various kinds of fantasy dress.
Having completed the huge project in China, Maleonn mused he may next be taking the roadshow to the UK. “I have friends in Swansea,” he said.
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Portraits by Maleonn from his mobile photo studio (Image courtesy THE ART NEWSPAPER)