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Karin Weber Gallery
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Fables In A Ghost Town
by Karin Weber Gallery
Location: Karin Weber Gallery
Artist(s): ZHAO Dayong
Date: 16 May - 8 Jun 2012

Karin Weber Gallery is pleased to announce the solo exhibition of Chinese artist Zhao Dayong  who is also an acclaimed independent film maker.  The large format photos were shot whilst Zhao was filming his three-part documentary Ghost Town in the remote mountain town of Zhiziluo in China’s southwest Yunnan province.

Propaganda slogans fade into the shadows of the old city hall and a figure of Chairman Mao gazes out silently in a town left deserted by The Cultural Revolution.  By introducing Hans Christian Andersen’s mythical mermaid, the artist has created a sense of conflict and absurdity amongst the villagers. What does the distressed gaze of the mermaid convey? Do the local children surrounding the mermaid know that she is a character from children’s stories? Does she exist? Do the people in this ghost town sense too that we are all characters in a fable? It could all be a dream.

I view every personal act as an act of experimentation. Art too is fundamentally about experimentation with life. This concept – of art and of life – is open and non-restrictive. In a sense I can't really know with clarity whether my own stories are fables or manifestations of reality,’ said Zhao. The photos remind one how memories in China have been obliterated by the imposition of ideology and how stories for the generations that follow will be nothing more than fables, empty imaginings.

Zhao's award-winning feature 'High Life' and epic documentary 'Ghost Town' will be played at the opening night.

About the artist

After graduating from China’s Lu Xun Art Academy in 1992, where he specialized in oil painting, Zhao worked for a number of years as a professional artist and advertising director, first in Beijing and later in Guangzhou. In 1997, he founded Guangzhou Dake, a design company. He was also founding editor of Culture & Morals, a journal for the contemporary arts in China. Zhao began exploring the medium of digital video in 2002. His first documentary film, Street Life, premiered at Austria’s Viennale in October 2006. Zhao’s second documentary film, Ghost Town, a collage of stories that take place in the former government seat of Zhiziluo in remote northwestern Yunnan province, premiered at the New York Film Festival in 2009. His first fiction feature, The High Life, premiered at the Hong Kong International Film Festival in 2010, winning both the FIPRESCI Award and the Silver Digital Award. The High Life made its European premiere in the main competition at the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival in November 2010, where it won both the Werner Fassbinder Prize and the FIPRESCI Jury Prize.

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