China Scenes 1656/1992

The scenes of the title of this photo essay retrace the river journey of the Chinese painter-monk Xiao Yuncong through Anhui province in the Yangzi basin. His biography and career were affected by the collapse of the Ming and the ascent of the Qing. For aesthetic reasons as well as visual impact, he embedded his figures and their activities in a dramatically enhanced topography.

The photographs focus on people – loitering and laboring, mourning and meditating or plucking tea leaves. Their villages and small towns appear locked in a time capsule between a socialist past and the sudden rise of the socialist market economy introduced under Deng Xiaoping with the aim of opening China to global markets.

The essay was commissioned by the Museum Rietberg, Zürich, and was exhibited together with Xiao Yuncong ’s Long Scroll, dating from 1656.


Chinesische Szenen 1656/1992, Zürich 1992


Chinesische Szenen 1656/1992, Museum Rietberg, Zürich 1992