CONTEMPORARY BY ANGELA LI presents the solo exhibition of photographer He Xingyou, featuring his Landscape series taken throughout China. These works include the commonly seen contemporary landscape - large-scale city relocations and urban periphery constructions, deserted half-finished projects, ghost towns, mountain digging, sabotaging of the nature under the allure of great profits, with green mountains and clear water reduced to pieces of construction sites. “His main targets shown in Landscape series are a variety of construction sites throughout mainland China. As a result, what matters now is not how to record an event, but how to bring both immersive and historic truthfulness to the viewer. The scenes He Xingyou faces today are apparently different from what traditional literati saw in their time. Today the nature has been changed and even greatly destroyed by human hands, turning into construction sites or similar places. Here, two great forces - both human labour and nature are fiercely competing with each other, like what happens in a cruel battle,” says renowned Chinese curator Wang Lin.
“He Xingyou’s aim is to change people’s customary visual habits. In China, people have become used to seeing construction sites, for they commonly exist everywhere. Worse still, people even become numb at the official and commercial powers’ contempt over nature and manipulation of people’s daily life. The visual effect that He seeks to achieve is the presenting of magnificence. He has brought us back to those scenes through omnipresent, highly vivid details: the devastated stones and soils, the grass, the trees, and the animals, all of which shock us. In his works, even grand scenes embody disturbances, and more sadness.”
He Xingyou has a complicated past. He had been a successful entrepreneur in China since the 1970s, but had gone through many ups and downs in his life. He had been arrested and put in prison several times, having been accused of being a counterrevolutionary in his teens, from listening to Soviet classical music on the radio, for being a capitalist when he was 20 after making decent money from taking photographs and portraits and later again in the middle of the last decade. However, all these never stopped his pursual of photography.