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Brothers | Exhibition of Photographic Works by Zhu Xianmin and Wang Yuwen

2017-12-28 10:43:50  source: PHOTOINTER [Special Manuscript]  author:   editor: zhangss
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Brothers | Exhibition of Photographic Works by Zhu Xianmin and Wang Yuwen

Curator:Chen Xiaobo

December 28th,2017 to January 28th,2018

The China Millennium Monument

Opening Event:4:00 P.M. December 28th,2017

Hosts:

China Photographers Association

China Photography Exhibition Center

The China Millennium Monument

1514275737651629 (1).jpgZhu Xianmin and Wang Yuwen


Curator’s message

Witness the secret images of that era

1. Peasants and workers are the most important group in China, who are the foundation for the country’s survival.

Zhu Xianmin, Wang Yuwen's parents are farmers and workers. Before the age of 17, Zhu Xianmin had never left the Yellow River, while Wang Yuwen began as a coal worker at the age of 18.

After picking up the camera, the two each did only one thing. Zhu Xianmin recorded the most important river in China, while Wang Yuwen left his footprints in the coal mines, factories and docks in northeastern China. Their art creation originated completely from the inner experience, and they only took pictures of everything related to their own destiny, experience, and spirit. They tried their best and never got separated from their original intentions.

Zhu Xianmin did not take pictures of his father and mother all through his life. All the women in his lens were mothers, and all men were fathers.

Nor did Wang Yuwen have the change to shoot photos of his parents and siblings, but all the people in his lens were his relatives.

One of the cultural characteristics of the world today is to find oneself among the other, while Zhu Xianmin and Wang Yuwen look for themselves in their most familiar places. The objects of their photographs are the real people and the lives that they are familiar with since the childhood, and those are the exactly the things sharing the same quality of humanity.

Their photographs contain the secrets of Chinese peasants and workers in the second half of the 20th century and early 21st century. Those faces aroused our respect, understanding and concern for our fellow men.

Zhu Xianmin and Wang Yuwen's photos are the classic samples of documentary photography. Years later, these images will also become precious documents to narrate history and to be defined by history again.

However, these two photographers, who only recognize themselves as special workers, think that their works can neither awaken nor persuade the mass. At the most, their works, in the future, will leave behind some evidences to explore the lives of people in the Yellow River basin and in the northeastern industry area.

2. Second, several years earlier, Chen Haiwen invited Zhu Xianmin, Wang Yuwen and I to attend an event in Shanghai, where we live together in a small courtyard.

At seven o'clock in the morning, I heard someone calling my name. At a glimpse, Zhu Xianmin and Wang Yuwen were sitting under a big tree and enjoyed drinking tea. As I went to there, is sitting under the tree to drink tea. When I passed, the tea has turned light.

I asked: "What are you doing so early in the morning?"

Answer: "Having a chat!"

Question: "You guys meet each other so frequently, didn’t you have enough talk? What are you talking about?"

Answer: "Remind each other!"

Question: "What to remind?"

Answer: "To remind each other what to insist, what should give up; which step is too large, which step did not keep up; what kind of boisterous things we should leave alone, what kind of solitude things may not bad at all; do not ignore our attention on a certain friend, and those rapid changing things cannot dazzle our eyes……”

It is said that the two got acquainted in their 30s, and from then on, the most important thing for them was to “remind each other” and to “heal each other”.

I knew them for about 20 years. I saw them work hard, and support the others. They put an insight into the society, deeply appreciating it, staying calm and unmoved.

The upcoming 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up. Forty years of changes cannot express in words. I often fell lucky that I was able to witness the most important historical changes in China with Zhu Xianmin and Wang Yuwen, and to move forward with them shoulder to shoulder in such an age with huge waves. The pain of the times has not only brought us tremendous fresh and touching life experiences, and also gave us common rejoice and worries.

3. Two "brothers" took photos of the Chinese workers and peasants, the two huge "brothers" groups, in the past four to five decades. This is the exhibition I am planning, and that’s why I name it as Brothers.

Chen Xiaobo 2017-12-26


Zhu Xianmin’s photographic works:

The Yellow River dyke in winter, Henan province, in 1963.

The Yellow River dyke in winter, Henan province, in 1963.

1977年 山东 赶收小麦的一家人.jpg

A family in wheat harvest, Shandong province, in 1977.

1980  山东 黄河渡口 .jpg

The Yellow River ferry, Shandong province, in 1980.

1986年,青海,黄河源头.jpg

The source of the Yellow River, Qinghai province, in 1986.

1989  山东  等看新娘 .jpg

Waiting for the bride, Shandong province, in 1989.

1989 河南 提亲 .jpg

A match-making, Henan province, in 1989.

1989 山东 母女俩山东.jpg

Mother and daughter, Shandong province, in 1989.

1990年 河南 堤上纳凉的人.jpg

People enjoy the cool at the Yellow River dyke, Henan province, in 1990.

1990年,山东,赶集路上.jpg

People on their way to a fair, Shandong province, in 1990.

1996年,山东,黄河凌汛.jpg

Ice flood of the Yellow River, Shandong province, in 1996.

2011年,内蒙古,黄河.jpg

The Yellow River, Inner Mongolia, in 2011.

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Wang Yuwen’s photographic works:

Haizhou open-pit in Fuxin city, Liaoning province, in 1981.

People work in the quarry in Tieling city, Liaoning province, in 1985.

Workers carry explosives to Haizhou open-pit in Fuxin city, Liaoning province, in 2002.

A steelworker takes his lunch in Bxsteel Corporation in Benxi, Liaoning province, in 1990.

Deserted switchyard of Haizhou open-pit in Fuxin city, Liaoning province, in 2002.

Sheepherder at the deserted switchyard of Haizhou open-pit in Fuxin city, Liaoning province, in 2003.

One of Bxsteel Corporation’s plants is being dismantled in Benxi, Liaoning province, in 2009.

Xinqiu open-pit to be abandoned in Fuxin city, Liaoning province, in 2005.

Steam locomotive workers shift the duty in Fuxin city, Liaoning province, in 2007.

A coal preparation plant in Benxi, Liaoning province, in 2009.

Workers say farewell to their old plant in Northern Heavy Industries Group Corporation in Shenyang, Liaoning province, in 2009.

Workers say farewell to their old plant in Northern Heavy Industries Group Corporation in Shenyang, Liaoning province, in 2009.

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