New book offers photographic insights into China's rapid changes within the time frame of the last 20 years

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Friday, May 17, 2024

New book offers photographic insights into China's rapid changes within the time frame of the last 20 years
Rosemarie Zens: Moon Rabbit: The Chinese Journey. © Rosemarie Zens.

NEW YORK, NY.- At the beginning of her travels to China, Rosemarie Zens found a predominantly agrarian multi-ethnic state and initially photographed mainly landscapes and everyday scenes in urban and rural situations that reminded her of pre-modern times in our Western world. Within a time-frame of twenty years, a rapid structural change within Chinese society took place. The memorable photographs show how China increasingly orients itself towards Western culture and how homogenizing forces such as science, technology and the global market influence individual life. On various levels, however, the images also bear witness to how the precarious developments reflect our own approach to the world, while traces of the spirituality of ancient Chinese culture can still be found in the style of the images.

The calligraphies opening the chapters, were specially designed for this book edition by the artist and author Yung-Shan Tsou (Taipeh/ Berlin).

From the text by Rosemarie Zens: »I travelled to China for the first time in 1998. The journey took me from Beijing in the northeast along the Yellow River to Kashgar in the northwest of the country. Three more visits would follow, most recently in 2018. It was over this time span of twenty years that I took my photographs – initially analogue, then digital. At the same time this vast, populous country faced a rapid restructuring of the society. On a different level this period was witness to revolutionary innovations in photographic technology. Both developments had a huge impact on my perception and my conception of images.«

»In many cultures the hare,the lunar animal, is considered to be a sign of fertility, vitality and desire. As a Christian symbol it stands for sacrifice and resurrection.In Buddhism it signifies modesty and rebirth. In Ancient Chinese culture the moon rabbit or hare symbolises transformation and change, while it relates to our experience of time, as duration in alternation, likewise continuity. As long as we recognise the legend of the hare in all its facets in other cultures,it remains alive. Life begets life,and therein lies change.«

Rosemarie Zens lives as a photographer, poet and essayist in Berlin. She has published in literary magazines, anthologies, individual volumes and audio-CDs. Her photographic work has been presented in several exhibitions and in photo books, among them The Sea Remembers (2014) and Journeying 66 (2012), both published by Kehrer Verlag.

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