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Asian Encounters

Almond Chu, Cyril Delettre, Zeng Nian


4 - 21 May 2022

La Galerie Paris 1839 is delighted to present the exhibition Asian Encounters showcasing art works from Asian artists Almond Chu, Zeng Nian and French artist Cyril Delettre. The exhibition will be held from 5 May to 1 June 2022, with the opening reception on 5 May 2022, at La Galerie Paris 1839, G/F 74 Hollywood Road, Central.

A sense of distance is always felt in the works of Almond Chu

 

The title Time Tunnel refers to a journey – the loss and exploration in the transitional journey of life. One after another evasive metaphor comes through the images.

 

Massive metal aqueducts are important passages in water supply. This is a real-life scenario and a symbol – one that is akin to the bloodstreams that keep creatures alive. The scene is a space surrounded by metal ducts – no exit can be seen in the defined visuals. A pale and fragile lady dressed in glamourous clothes oddly shows up; she is lonelily placed in such a distant environment; she is totally out of place in the setting. Such arrangement, however, generated a supernatural interface that is similar to the fourth dimension.

 

This is an absurd placement arrangement, which presents an unusual experience. The gesture of the lady reminds one of a ghost: it directly depicts the scene in which the dexterities are out of control and not knowing what should be put where; a sense of strange dislocation is brought out. Although it is an image taken by a long shot, the stiffness of her facial expressions can be vaguely noted – not knowing how to respond to the situation that she exists and being unable to fall into the twisted condition, she demonstrates a kind of gloomy yet detailed loneliness. The solidarity, loss and distant feelings that follow come together in an even stronger and dark manner. The focus of the work gradually goes to contemplation on the situation, the identity and other issues.

 

As for the arrangements in production, Almond Chu employed a technique that is unique to this series of work: while the handling of black and white in the originally shoddy environment highlights its roughness, the work was processed and printed with platinotype, the most elegant method with the highest collectible value in the history of photography. Thanks to the graininess of the visual and the richness of layers, the printing quality and the tones of the pictures are almost perfect.  If you can look at the original, you will experience the charm of this printing technology. Adding gold leaves and geometric shapes and lines into the photographs, the low and dark tone jumps right up to another level.

 

Another form of unique intervention technique handles the emphasis on the sense of distance through the use of the long shot; it is also an intentional rejection of subjective projection. Although this is a series of works, each is independent and do not have to be linked together. It also requires no lead in about the ups and downs as the key is about the fine details. As John W. Lennon once said ‘Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.’

—— Ann Mak

Almond Chu

Almond Chu was born and lives in HK. Graduated from the Tokyo College of Photography, he sets up his own studio in 1993 and works on art and commercial projects.

In the series of After Midnight, Hong Kong based French photographer Cyril Delettre participated to the development of conceptual photography when pursuing the works of Stephen Shore and Lewis Baltz. Delettre’s photo series document the side effects of modern civilization, focusing on places that lie outside the bounds of canonical reception: urban wastelands, abandoned industrial sites, warehouses. His photographs uncover the correspondences between spatial forms that occur in the everyday world and the advanced forms found in art. Delettre’s strategies imply a reflexive knowledge of the history of photography in that they deploy the photographer as a teacher of seeing who makes things visible through reductive gestures.

Delettre manages in his work to extend the notion of the documentary photography, in a minimalist style aesthetic. Delettre minimalist and reduced image compositions explore the photographic style as a process, and refer not only to the art of photographers like Lee Friedlander or Lewis Baltz. Convergences are to be found in his formal and aesthetic compositional patterns as well as in the content he fixes on, which Delettre subjects to a highly critical analysis, without however losing sight of essentials. Delettre chooses to work after midnight when the city is abandoned and the electric lights redesign the perspective and new forms appears.

Cyril Delettre
 

Cyril Delettre is a French artist specialising in photography and videography. His work is a balance between documentary and art.
 

Hong Kong has inspired him the following series: How To See The Light…Walk the dog, Eclosions HK, After Midnight, Afternoon, Rythmes, Walk Don’t Walk, and Wild City.

The choice of a wide-angle, panoramic 6:17 format projects a sense of melancholic nostalgia. Zeng Nian's investigation of the social and cultural realities of China in the throes of rapid development fills his photographs with humanity, reality and simplicity. His work acts as a window into the old China. In Zeng’s work, the Three Gorges becomes the symbol of the confrontation between secular history and the modern world.

In the Portraits series, Zeng developed a unique approach to portraiture by mimicking the way the human eye observes. Using a digital camera, Zeng would photograph up to 50 individual images, each with its own focus, and later assemble them into a complete, larger-than-life portrait.

 

“We usually observe someone with several focuses: how they are dressed, how they look like, any traces of their age, their body gestures, etc. These are all the elements we use to form a first impression towards a person in our mind.”

– Zeng Nian

Zeng Nian
 

Zeng Nian was born in 1954 in Jiangsu province, China. His father was a professor of painting at the Fine Arts Institute of Nanjing, and his mother was a pharmacist. 

During the Cultural Revolution, Zeng Nian was forced to give up his studies. Subsequently, he discovered photography, and began making his first images on his own. In 1971, he was assigned to work as a sailor in the port of Nanjing. Recognised for his skills in photography, he was asked to create a photo-diary of his work unit. During this time, Zeng also taught himself how to paint​