The Chinese Photobook
February 11 - April 02, 2015
  • La Chine à Terre et en Ballon [China: From Earth and Balloon] (Paris: Berger-Levrault & Cie, 1902)
  • The Living China: A Pictorial Record by Donald Mennie (Shanghai: Liang You Publishing Co., 1930)
  • Interior selection from Gli impressioni di Manciu-cuo [Impressions of Manchukuo] (Fengtian, China: Manchukuo Imperial Government, ca. 1938)
  • A selection of four album-style books, each including original prints, part of the five-volume set published as part of the Silvermine project by Thomas Sauvin (London: Archive of Modern Conflict, 2013)
  • Installation shot by Rebecca Topakian

China has a fascinating history of photobook publishing, and The Chinese Photobook will reveal for the first time the richness and diversity of this heritage. Curated by Martin Parr and WassinkLundgren, this exhibition is based on a collection Parr compiled with the Beijing- and London-based Dutch photographer team. And while the collection was inspired initially by Parr’s interest in propaganda books—and in finding key works of socialist realist photography, from the early days of the Communist Party and the Cultural Revolution era—the selection of books includes key volumes published as early as 1900, as well as contemporary volumes by emerging Chinese photographers. Each and every featured photobook offers a new perspective on the complicated history of China from the beginning of the twentieth century onward.

Additional venues:
April 4–May 31, 2015: Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing
April 17–July 5, 2015: The Photographers’ Gallery, London

Exhibition coproduced by Aperture Foundation, New York, and Les Rencontres d’Arles, France.

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The Chinese Photobook exhibition and publication have been made possible with generous support from the China Art Foundation, which was founded in 2008 to help ensure that the intense global interest in contemporary Chinese art and culture has a sustainable future, and to increase knowledge and understanding in the arena of art and culture between China and the rest of the world.

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The accompanying publication was made possible with additional contributions by Aperture supporters Celso Gonzalez-Falla and Sondra Gilman Gonzalez-Falla, Marina and Andrew E. Lewin, and David Solo.