EXTRAIT: Double Rhapsody
– On the two Chinas most widely disseminated across the world
Two statements: two stories of China. One is about Chinese manufacturing, the other about China’s cultural landscape. The photos in the first statement were taken at the Yiwu Small Products Market, a major logistics and trading centreer for consumer goods in China. I wanted to photograph the material fantasy of the production and trade of consumer goods. The photos of the second statement were taken in Hangzhou and Huangshan. I wanted to photograph the storied past of these two places, cutting across the natural and human legends of the ages. How did I do that? How do you capture great wisdom in minutia, or look upon the ancient through the contemporary? I thought about it for nine months before finally finding the “three- shot” method. Ancient China had this idea of the triple screen, and in the West, they had the triptych. Lao Tzu said: the Dao begets one, one begets two, two begets three, and three begets the myriad things. In ancient Chinese philosophy, three was infinity, the greatest number, so by taking three independent yet related photographs, I am able to engage in a penetration of space and time into history. I think that this is a breakthrough, an expansion of the boundaries of photographic vision.
Chen Jiagang, March 17 2012