Photographic duo RongRong and inri get first Hong Kong retrospective

CONTEMPORARY CHINESE PHOTOGRAPHY HONG KONG

More than sixty works by Chinese artist RongRong and his Japanese companion in art, inri, are on show at Blindspot Gallery for the first time. Due to its size, this photographic highlight has been split into two parts and spans both the gallery’s Hong Kong locations.

It is quite common in contemporary art for artists to collaborate on projects or even for their entire artistic careers: Gilbert and George, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Elmgreen and Dragset are some prominent examples. You need to dig a bit deeper, however, to find instances of Sino-Japanese collaboration in the arts. Blindspot Gallery, with locations in Central and Aberdeen in Hong Kong, is providing local audiences with such a showing, hosting the first solo exhibition in Hong Kong of artist duo RongRong and inri, titled “Three Begets Ten Thousand Things”.

Caochangdi, Beijing2004 No.2, hand dyed gelatin silver print © artists, courtesy Blindspot Gallery

'Caochangdi', Beijing2004 No.2, hand dyed gelatin silver print © artists, courtesy Blindspot Gallery.

Bodies in changing landscapes

Part I: RongRong’s personal vision

The show is split in two parts, showcasing more than sixty works by the artists. “Part I”, a selection of RongRong’s personal work between 1993 and 2000, is on show at Blindspot’s Hong Kong Central space. Series highlights include RongRong’s “East Village” series (1993-1998), the works of which are representative of early experimental and performance arts in China, and his “Ruins” series (1996-1998), which documents traditional villages demolished under the merciless redevelopment plans of local authorities and real estate speculators. The “Wedding Gown” series reflects RongRong’s “internal world and emotions” experienced at the time the body of work was created, and is “profoundly full of anxiety, loneliness and despair.”

East Village, Beijing, 1994 No. 12 gelatin silver print, © artist, courtesy Blindspot Gallery

'East Village', Beijing, 1994 No. 12 gelatin silver print, © artist, courtesy Blindspot Gallery.

Wedding Gown, Beijing, 2000, No. 1 (1), hand dyed gelatin silver print, © artists, courtesy Blindspot Gallery

'Wedding Gown', Beijing, 2000, No. 1 (1), hand dyed gelatin silver print, © artists, courtesy Blindspot Gallery.

Part II: Companions in art and life

“Part II”, showing at Blindspot Annex in Aberdeen, Hong Kong, presents collaborative work by RongRong and inri, produced between 2000 and 2011. In this exhibition, their aesthetically fluent works record art performances with a slightly disturbing undertone that reflect the subtle political message of the artistic duo: the destruction of traditional environments and the consequent loss of traditions and history. “Liulitun” documents the life the couple had led in Liulitun village, China, prior to the demolition of the community. The couple’s travels to various Chinese locations and even to Bad Goisern in Austria are documented in the exhibition, and the “Caochangdi” and “Three Shadows” series cover two further chapters in their life, the former exploring the beginnings of a family through images of inri’s pregnancy.

We are here, Beijing, 2002 No. 1, hand dyed gelatin silver print, © artists, courtesy Blindspot Gallery

'We are here', Beijing, 2002 No. 1, hand dyed gelatin silver print, © artists, courtesy Blindspot Gallery.

Liulitun, Beijing, 2003 No. 8, gelatin silver print, © artists, courtesy Blindspot Gallery

'Liulitun', Beijing, 2003 No. 8, gelatin silver print, © artists, courtesy Blindspot Gallery.

In Bad Goisern, Austria 2001, No. 3, hand dyed gelatin silver print, © artists, courtesy Blindspot Gallery

'In Bad Goisern', Austria 2001, No. 3, hand dyed gelatin silver print, © artists, courtesy Blindspot Gallery.

More on RongRong and inri

RongRong was born in 1968 in Zhangzhou, Fujian Province, in China. In 1992, he studied photography at the Central Industrial Art Institute in Beijing, and in 1993, he moved to Beijing’s East Village where he formally began his career as a contemporary photographer. He co-founded the magazine NEWPHOTO in 1996, which published its last edition in 1998.

inri was born in 1973 in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. She graduated in 1994 from the Nippon Photography Institute in Tokyo, a city in which she also worked as a photographer for a local newspaper, called Asahi Shinbun. In 1997, she started her creative career by becoming a freelance photographer.

The couple met in 1999 in Japan and travelled together as collaborative artists until their marriage in 2001. They continue to work together professionally while running the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, which they founded in Caochangdi, Beijing, in 2007. Their works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New YorkThe J. Paul Getty Museum, Los AngelesThe Singapore Art Museum; and others.

MV/KN/HH

Related Topics: photography, gallery shows, performance art

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