Chen Jiagang’s photographs capturing the industrial landscape in China – mines, factories, and arid plains – are easily recognized all over the world. Whether in colour or in black and white, Chen seems to capture the intensity and depth to his environment, in a result which we have rarely seen. Inspired by his architectural background and an innate ability to discover the aesthetic side, Chen encourages us to appreciate the beauty in a wider perspective.
Chen’s photographs often focus attention on abandoned factories that are hidden away in the hinterlands of his country and forgotten amid the society’s progression. Among these monumental and abandoned industrial towns, he introduces mysterious and sensual female figures. As a reference to the Chinese history, the introduction of women to their surroundings is strangely incongruous in the sublimating atmosphere of Chen’s artworks. The figures portray an allegorical form of romance and disillusionment, while paradoxically serve as a form of faith of hope. His works convey the complexity of society in today’s China, also document the impact on industry, city, environment and women in China’s ongoing processes of development.
Born in Chongqing, China in 1962, Chen Jiagang began his career as a celebrated architect and real estate developer before making the transition to photography. His works have been exhibited widely since 1999, and are included in numerous collections in China, Europe, and the United States. He has also been awarded twice the Excellent Works Award at the annual China Photographic Arts Exhibitions. Currently, he is based in Beijing, China.