His pictures of emptiness trace the life of ancient Chinese and involve viewers to make a dialogue with history, says Yizhong Ruan
An inaugural photography exhibition of Zhang Jin’s “Another Season” was held in Three Shadows + 3 gallery. This is the first solo exhibition of Zhang Jin after his winning on TSPA 2012. The complete series of “Another Season” contains 81 prints, themed ancient silk-road landscapes in western China, which divided into two parts addressing concepts regarding “trace of present live” and “cycle of change”.
Zhang Jin (b.1978) is a freelance photographer based in Chengdu. In 2012, he was awarded the most prestigious photography award in China initiated by Three Shadows Photography Center, which attracted approximately 358 candidates last year. Zhang Jin traveled through the eastern section of the ancient Silk Road from Xi’an to Yangguan during 2010 to 2013. Whilst he was there, he positioned himself inside the landscapes of his imagination and shot a photo series entitled Another Season during the year. As he mentioned ‘it’s the road of Buddhism coming to China, where I find my enthusiasm for the grand desert. Moreover, it has my encounter with the unknown landscape’.
Zhang Jin’s work is the adaptation of photography to Chinese philosophical and aesthetic concepts – especially through a dialogue with different kinds of representation found in various Chinese poetry and painting. As photographer says, “there are traces from the ancient civilization and the most important is an exploration for a seer. There are also natural creatures, which persistently and simply exist everywhere regardless of the dynasty or nation changes over time, with the primitive strength born from basic instinct.”
Beneath the surface of the self-consciously ‘poetic’ motifs, the landscape he shows in these photographs feel calm and peaceful. The middle format, together with the loose contrast between the soft focus and pale grounds in Zhang Jin’s photograph, evokes the aesthetics of Chinese Shan Shui painting. Also, in terms of narrative, when we look at photographs from Another Season, viewers can enter and travel through each part of the picture in turn, going from one to the other – we shall be as little bothered by the lack of a uniform viewpoint as we would be.
Zhang Jin Photography “Another Season”
Three Shadows +3 gallery
About Photographer: www.lakezhan.com