The Chinese Photobook
Curated by Martin Parr and WassinkLundgren


In the last decade there has been a major reappraisal of the role and status of the photobook within the history of photography. Revisionist histories have added enormously to our understanding of the medium’s culture, particularly in places that are often marginalized, such as Latin America and Africa. However, until now, only three Chinese photobooks have made it onto historians’ short lists.

Yet China has a fascinating history of photobook publishing, and Aperture’s exhibition The Chinese Photobook will reveal for the first time the richness and diversity of this heritage. Divided into six historical sections, it will delight and engage photobook enthusiasts with the excitement of discovery. Based on a collection compiled by Martin Parr and Beijing- and London-based Dutch photographer team WassinkLundgren, The Chinese Photobook embodies an unprecedented amount of research and scholarship, and includes accompanying texts and individual title descriptions by Gu Zheng, Raymond Lum, Gerry Badger, Stephanie Tung, and Ruben Lundgren.

The Chinese Photobook will also reveal much about China itself, and the country’s dramatic twists and turns during the last 150 years.

Martin Parr is a key figure in the world of photography, recognized as a brilliant satirist of contemporary life. Author of over thirty photography books, his photographs have been collected by museums worldwide, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Tate Modern, London. Parr is a member of Magnum Photos.

WassinkLundgren is a collaboration between Dutch artists Thijs groot Wassink and Ruben Lundgren. Their work together includes book projects, exhibitions, and photography commissions. They met while studying at the Utrecht School of the Arts in the Netherlands and have worked together since 2005. They have received several awards, including the Prix du Livre at Rencontres d’Arles for best contemporary photobook and the China Academy Award. They were short-listed for Dutch Doc Award and Foto Kees Scherer Prijs, and have been nominated for the Thieme Art Award.

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. Additional support provided by Bruno Wang of Pure Land Foundation.