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Hanart TZ Gallery
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Fang.Grain Rain
by Hanart TZ Gallery
Location: Hanart T Z Gallery
Date: 22 Oct - 18 Nov 2009

<Fang.Grain Rain>
Chang Tsong-zung

The story of agriculture of this solar term is perennial; it is a story that forms the basis of Chinese life style, and lies at the heart of its civilisation. Agricultural knowledge is a fang because it comes in the form of practical formula that hints at alchemist magic. It is a folk knowledge holding secrets of the cosmos.

Photography is a fang of the modern age. It interrupts the continuum of life to extract still images for possession, to keep them as memorial of death and the past. Qiu Shiming and Luo Haiming found a laboratory of this modern alchemy in a derelict photography studio in the farming canal village Feng Qiao (Maple Bridge). They turned the studio into a working camera chamber, and re-developed its stock pile of preserved memories into a seasonal cycle of regeneration. In transforming this factory of memories into a camera chamber, the artists also signify the passing of a way of life and the memorialising of a living culture. Pictures are taken in the attic with light let through lifted roof tiles, which is controlled like a lens shutter. In this secluded chamber a ritual about life and cosmic cycle is performed, corresponding to the farming activities going on in the village outside. In this chamber the modern fang of knowledge turns the fang of life into artistic life, in turn making it the beginning of fresh memories.

The video is made with twenty thousand still photographs. Its narrative is formed out of countless broken memories, and reconstructs a separate, coherent time. The exhibition also includes an archive of materials that tells the history of the Maple Bridge Photography Studio and people who had worked here since the early years of the People's Republic, which in itself constitutes a full sixty-year cosmic cycle of Chinese history. On screen, the year has come full circle and its ritual is being observed on film.

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