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Casa Asia in Barcelona Presents Rong Rong & inri: The Power of Ruins
In Fujisan, Japan 2001 No 1.

BARCELONA.- Casa Asia opens the exhibition of the most recent works by the well known Chinese photographer Rong Rong, one of the most relevant artists in China since the ‘80s, and his wife inri. The show collects 49 works selected among the most representative series realized by the two artists from 2000 to the present. The title Rong Rong & inri. El poder de las ruinas. Entre destrucción y construcción de la ciudad global (RongRong & inri. The Power of the Ruins. Between destruction and construction of the global city) recalls to the subject of the largest series exhibited, the Liulitun one, which shows a Place of destruction and reconstruction, where the city renovates itself in an unstoppable process of transformation. The exhibition will be open to the public until the end of 2008.

Rong Rong's work began in the Beijing East Village, where he lived together with artists such as Zhang Huan or Ma Liuming. Exceptional witness of his contemporaries, such as the aforementioned artists, Rong Rong (Zhangzhou 1968, Fujian province) specialized in photography since the beginning of his artistic career, starting from the register of the actions and performances of the artists who made in that time the main contributions to the development of contemporary Chinese art, and passing later to the registers of domestic and everyday life in a country and city that was beginning a process of huge mutation. inri (Kanagawa 1973, Japan) started her career as a journalism photographer in Japan and focused later her attention on artistic photography. Since 1999 she’s living and working with Rong Rong in China, where they founded a centre for contemporary photography.

The Ruins

The central subject of the exhibition is the devastation caused by the program of total renovation in action in all the Chinese major cities. “The growth of the global city - says the curator, Menene Gras - is everywhere inevitably destructive, under the pressure of urban masses and internal diasporas that form the new population of artificial cities and unknown suburbs”. The archeological value of the ruins is the result of an invasive process of architecture and urban growth of a country in a fast developing stage as China. “There’s no transformation without destruction - says the curator - and what it’s interesting to show is how the artist experiments this process, associating the domestic life to the fragmentation of the city and the removals he’s forced to”. But despite the attention to this urban landscapes, the exhibition proposes also works realized by the artists outside the city, during their travelling to Japan and Europe. According to the curator, this vision contrasts with the urban scenes: “while the loneliness surrounds the artists among the ruins of the city, the nature appears in these images like a place in intimate rest and harmony with the artists, seen just as one more component of the landscape”. According to the words of the Chinese art critic and curator Wu Hung, the images of the ruins that inspire nostalgia of the past, in a picturesque and sentimental landscape, have always been connected with important social and politic events. “In spite of the use done of the representation of ruins - says the curator - it disfigures their meaning, which can change from the exaltation of nationality and nationalism to the demand of people identity”.

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