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Interview with Zhao Liang: "I am Interested in Social Problems of China Because is it my Responsibility"
Zhao Liang, City Scene, film still, 2004. L.A. Galerie - LothaarAlbrecht, Frankfurt ©Zhao Liang.

MADRID.- Zhao Liang has worked equally on video art, documentary films and photography, and each of his works offers sharp observations on China's social reality. By exploring this country’s urban and rural life, he shows a clear connection with the underprivileged whom he considers the engine of their society. The everyday aspects ignored by public institutions catch his attention, and he acts as a chronicler of daily life.

The Sala Minerva in the Círculo de Bellas Artes presents his City Scene (2004) video. With this piece, Liang not only documents an uncomfortable side of life in China, but he also takes advantage of the opportunity to create a strange, poetical portrait of his country's contemporary metropolises.

In short scenes or vignettes, he shows Beijing's inhabitants dancing on a bridge, getting drunk, receiving massages, playing golf or being beaten until they bleed, reflecting on the stoicism with which Chinese citizens respond to their country’s urban and social conditions.

Currently, Zhao Liang (1971) is the director of the Three Shadows Moving Image Studio. After graduating from the Academy of Fine Art in Luxun, he studied at the Beijing Film Academy. Liang has participated in various film festivals such as Berlin. In 2007 he was awarded the Montgolfière d'or at the Festival of the Three Continents in Nantes for Crime and Punishment (2006).

PHE- How did you begin in the visual arts field?

Zhao Liang-
I like to draw pictures and make fotos since I was a child. After graduated from Lu Xun Academy of Fine Art in 1992, I got a job in the TV-Station of my hometown, where I had worked for like a year.

But I got sick of the machanical way of propagonda, so I left there and came to Beijing to study movie photography. And that was 1993. After the graduation I begann to work independently with movie and video.

PHE- Could you tell us a little bit about your work “city scene”?

This is a diary-like movie made during wandering. Everyday I wandered through the streets, with a minitype camera in my bag, to record the things which happened occasionally around me and which I interested in.

All of this absurd images belong to the materials I have been collecting for years. It can be called as my impression of the city of Beijing, in which I live.

PHE- You are the director of the Three Shadows Moving Image Studio. What kind of works do you usually do at your studio?

Actually I do my artistic work in the studio for the most of time. I also show some independent movies irregularly, organize some discussions.

PHE- You have been working about the social problems of China for years. Why are you interested in showing the social reality of your country?

The reason why I got so interested in this issue, is because that is my responsibility. I want people to reflect on our society after seeing my movies, so that we can make our society better.

PHE- How do you think your work relates to this year´s theme: the everyday?

What I want to do is, to approach a way of using lens language by everyday recording, so that the essence of the everyday life can be seperated from its apperances(and we can start to look at the things we used to ignore).

PHE- What would you say is the most difficult project you’ve done?

The ‘Petition’, and this is mainly because of the polical reality that made me feel forced mentally.

PHE- Are you currently working on any projects you can share with us?

I am doing something about journey, about a kind of thinking that appears in a aimless journey. And through this way of thinking, I want to look at myself, society and life from a totally new angle! I intend to do this journey in the whole China.

PHotoEspana | Zhao Liang | Beijing Film Academy | Berlin | Lu Xun Academy of Fine Art |

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