China: A Photographic Portrait – July – September 2008

Major exhibition at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre.

© Liu Dewang, September 1999  A scratchcard lottery: the lucky winner takes home his prize.

© Liu Dewang, September 1999
A scratchcard lottery: the lucky winner takes home his prize.

The only UK opportunity to catch an unprecedented and unique photographic exhibition, documenting the changing face of China over 50 years, comes to the City Art Centre in Edinburgh this summer.

Comprising almost 600 frank images – selected from more than 100,000 works by over 1,000 Chinese photographers – this exhibition has been loaned by Guangdong Museum of Art, where it was originally shown in 2003. Having toured in Germany for the last two years, the run at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre represents the only opportunity to catch this incredible portrait of China before it returns to Guangdong.

The photographs, many of them in black and white and the majority taken in the last 20 years, record in detail the daily lives, both public and private, of ordinary Chinese individuals, of varying ages and from diverse backgrounds, at work, rest and play, in both major cities and the countryside.

As well as the glossy exterior of the economic boom in China’s cities, the exhibition records the significance of radical cultural change from the vantage point of photographers living in China, capturing images which reflect many previously unseen aspects of life in China.

Complementing the exhibition will be a China Art Now project, featuring a collection of 33 short films providing further tantalising insights into cultural and social life in a country which is home to a fifth of the world’s population. The exhibition will also be accompanied by a varied events programme of lectures, family and arts activities.

Natascha Gentz, director of the Confucius Institute for Scotland, said: “Bringing this outstanding exhibition to Scotland is a remarkable achievement for the Institute. The broad range of authentic images of China – revealed for the first and, possibly, only time in the UK – reflects our Institute’s aim of promoting a greater understanding of the diversity and complexity of this huge, rapidly evolving country.”

The exhibition opens on 5 July and runs through till 14 September. Prices are £5.00/£3.50 concession; £2.50 child 5-15; £10 season ticket; £10 family ticket.

The City Art Centre is open Monday – Saturday 10.00-17.00 and Sunday 12.00-17.00