• INWARD EVENT - Zhou Hongbin Photography Exhibition
    Artist: Zhou Hongbin
    Essay: Fan Lin
    Opening: 2011.04.23 / 16:00
    Duration: 2011.04.23 - 2011.05.27 / 10:00 - 18:00
    Venue: OFOTO Gallery. 2F, Building 13, 50 Moganshan Rd., Shanghai

    Inward Event
    by Fan Lin 

    According to my experience in galleries and exhibitions, people tend to use “intention” as a key word in their questions, as if an artwork can be decipher only when the intention is explained. For a long time, due to lack of the education of visual language and inertia in our way of seeing, the audience prefer believing clumsy explanations to the works themselves, though they may either be profounder or some how irrelevant. No doubt that many of the interpretations seem to be both vivid and reliable, but the intention of creation itself is beyond words. These paradoxes have started at the very beginning of many works.
    Therefore, to approch works like “Aquarium”, I had better offer a simple but helpful hint in advance: rely on the true evidence - what we see and hear, put aside the misleading “intension”.
    Obviously, what we see and hear tell us that we can never draw general sense of rationality from Zhou Hongbin’s works.  It is the rabbits of different colors and the pregnant artist herself that enjoy the pleasure in the aquarium and it is the calm white horses that wander elegantly in the city garden. This surprising view of seeing decides the subversiveness of Zhou’s images.
    This so called “subversiveness” comes from the experience that people have gained from abundant pictures: photography works as accurate copy of reality. When discussing the realism of photography, Roland Barthes once claimed that “photography is not an art but a magic”. The point is that the past it represents is a reliable existence. If we regard Roland Barthes’s theory on photography as phenomenological, then Zhou Hongbin’s is somehow psychological.  She creates a special pathway to form new visual situations and events, which would finally make us believe that all these come from her self-consciousness. Once led into her mind, we gain another way to understand the world and to appreciate another taste. 
    In terms of the techniques, the subversiveness lies on artist’s modification of the honesty of camera’s documentary function in a reverse way. There is a certain kind of continuity in Zhou’s works. The visual effect and dramatic arrangements all have vitality of their own. All the images contain deliberate plots. Here, translating absurd images into poetic expressions, Zhou Hongbin has always been insisting her own unique ways.
    “Event”, the crucial element in a photograph, does not seem to exist in Zhou’s works. However, the photos full of temptations and surges construct large amounts of “inward events”. They are not merely Zhou Hongbin’s personal imagination. Both the individuality flowing from the structure and the scenes real but illusive all influence us, which implies new directions and possibilities for photography. 

    Translation: Frida Fan