OK China, an exhibition of photographs by Rian Dundon and Wayne Liu, opens Wednesday, July 8th, at the Camera Club of New York, 336 W. 37 (between 8th and 9th Aves), Suite 206, and continues through August 12th. The opening reception is 6–9pm.
Both photographers have traveled extensively through China in the last few years, exploring a chaotic world in the midst of enormous change and modernization, viewing with a canny perspective its many contradictions and contrasts.
Dundon looks specifically at youth, the “lost generation” who are caught in the shuffle of a fast–changing society. He spends time with an assortment of characters, including graffiti artists, karaoke hosts, transgender nightclub dancers, skater kids, and just ordinary examples of the One-Child generation, some of whom, he writes, “remain in a state of postponed adulthood. Unemployed and disaffected, they have embraced a kind of blissful ambivalence towards life as they float between parties, drugs, and a sexual freedom unknown to their elders. Some run small businesses – DIY music venues, tattoo parlors, head shops.” His black and white, raw, intimate reportage takes him through a range of nightlife situations in the lesser known cities of outlying provinces.
Wayne Liu takes an epic, cinematic view of the bewildering vistas of unfinished building projects and makeshift arrangements of public space, animated by the presence of figures going about their business. Making images in China, for him, is like working on “a dystopic drawing board of sort…traversing through the margins marked between bus stops, between the leveling of grounds and escalators built, between signs of empty rhetoric and empty corridors of unfinished palace malls, to eventually catch the next train towards the next – unknown future that neon karaoke lights disguise as intoxication…The timetable displays 9–5: my favorite hours, 9pm–5am, that is.”
Also working in black and white, Wayne Liu uses outdated photo paper to create the atmosphere of anxiety and dislocation. His wandering approach reflects an uprooted childhood growing up between two cultures. He was born in 1979 in Taiwan and went to grade school in Texas and New Jersey. At age eleven, he returned to Taiwan for high school and went on to study cinema there briefly before moving to New York City in 1999. His photographs have appeared in Foam Photography Magazine, Eyemazing Magazine, and Chinese Photography Magazine. This year he was chosen to be one of four winners of the Camera Club of New York‘s Darkroom Residency Program.
Rian Dundon was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1980, and earned a BFA in Photography and Imaging from NYU in 2003. He is a dual citizen of Ireland and the U.S. He has photographed and written for magazines and news outlets, including Time, Stern, Pacific New Service, Out Magazine, Bloomberg News, Swindle Magazine, MTV World, and the Irish Times Magazine. In 2007 he was awarded the Tierney Fellowship to help support his work in central China.