The glamorous side of China’s rise has never been more prominent as the present: Sparkling glass skyscrapers soar into the skies over Beijing and Shanghai. Fashionable men and women peacock along the sidewalks. Sights like these point to a new era for a country that has recently taken centrestage in a rapidly changing world.
The panoramic images of Traces explore the otherworldly scenes of the Chinese industrial hinterland, landscapes that seem to be the repository for all of man’s endeavours; a record of our material desires. In contrast, the images that make up Dark Clouds evolve into an intimate chronicle of daily life in these environments. Both projects were designed to exist on their own but, more importantly, to also form concurrent chapters within a larger body of work. Each would have a distinct emphasis within an overarching theme. From the epic to the quotidian, these interweaving chapters represent two overlapping realities: the human experience of the individual, the migrant worker, and vistas that intimate the existence of a much larger economic and ideological process, one whose momentum we struggle to control, a symbol of our collective ambitions.
About the Artist
Ian Teh’s (UK, b.1971) internationally exhibited photographs were awarded the EF grant from the Magnum Foundation in 2011 and highly commended for the Prix Pictet prize in 2009. His selected solo shows include the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York in 2004, Paris Beijing Gallery in Beijing in 2008 and the Flowers Gallery in London in 2011. In 2012, Teh will have his first solo show in Rotterdam, Holland at the Kunsthal Museum. Teh’s photographs have been widely exhibited and featured in international publications such as Time and The New Yorker. His works have been featured in contemporary art publications such as Elena- Ochoa Foster’s C-International. He has published two monographs, Undercurrents (2008) and Traces (2011). His work is also part of the permanent collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Hood Museum of Art (USA).