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Zhang Kechun - A 15 Year Journey

Solo Exhibition by Zhang Kechun

3 December 2020 - 28 February 2021

La Galerie is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Chinese photographer Zhang Kechun featuring a selection of images from his photographic series The Yellow River, Between the Mountains and Water and Chinese Landscapes. This exhibition brings together works from more than a decade of Zhang’s photographic journey, celebrating his most renowned series of photography.
 

Best known for his large format photographs of post-industrial Chinese landscapes, Zhang produces epic vistas that dwell on the significance of the landscape in modern Chinese national identity. His works depict scenery beyond the magnificent natural landscapes, it is an observation of economic reform and development in China.

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A Buddha Head in a Coalfield, Ningxia

The Yellow River, 2011, Inkjet print on photo rag ultra smooth paper

Zhang’s first and breakthrough series The Yellow River, documenting the effects of modernization along one of the longest rivers in Asia, he was inspired to carry out the project after reading the novel Rivers of the North by Zhang Chengzhi. The project took him on a four-year journey along the river on a fold-up bicycle.

“I decided to take a walk along the Yellow River, so that I could find the root of my soul”

—— Zhang Kechun

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A Man Standing on an Island in the Middle of the River, Shaanxi

The Yellow River, 2012, Inkjet print on photo rag ultra smooth paper

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People Seeking Relatives and Friends by the Riverside

Between the Mountains and Water, 2015, Inkjet print on photo rag ultra smooth paper

In Between the Mountains and Water series, Zhang travelled across China to document how urbanisation is reshaping the country’s natural landscapes. The often dreamlike images of this series depict tiny figures dwarfed by the immense scale of China’s economic development. He ventured inland to look for impressive natural phenomena and man-built structures. Zhang explains, “It feels as though a strong, destructive and unstoppable force is spreading across our natural landscapes. Under the circumstances, I consider myself to be very insignificant in comparison.”

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People Drinking Tea under a Billboard

Between the Mountains and Water, 2015, Inkjet print on photo rag ultra smooth paper

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Water Dam

Chinese Landscapes, 2019, Inkjet print on photo rag ultra smooth paper

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Winter Swimming next to a Grounded Ship

Chinese Landscapes, 2017, Inkjet print on photo rag ultra smooth paper

Chinese Landscapes

“In the 40 years that followed the Chinese economic reform, industrialisation and the country’s economy advanced at an alarming rate, at a speed that was never seen before in the past thousands of years. What happened simultaneously was the sacrifice of the natural environment, landscapes deteriorated, and sustainability became an immediate concern. This series is a collection of photographs taken during my travels around the country in the past decade, which is intended to be an ongoing project…”
 

 

– Zhang Kechun

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People Flying Kites under the Pavilion

Chinese Landscapes, 2012, Inkjet print on photo rag ultra smooth paper

Zhang Kechun - Between the Mountains and Water | La Galerie
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Artist Insights


Learn more about the inspiration and creative thoughts behind Zhang Kechun's latest works in our interviews with the artist himself.

Explore more of Zhang Kechun's works in our virtual exhibition:

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About the Artist

 

Zhang Kechun was born in 1980 in Sichuan, China, and started painting when he was a child. He studied art and design and on graduating he worked as a designer in Chengdu before becoming interested in photography. Zhang is best known for his large format photographs of post-industrial Chinese landscapes. He produces epic vistas that dwell on the significance of the landscape in modern Chinese national identity.