Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I went to Lianzhou last weekend for the International Photo Festival there. To go there was a really long journey. Though being part of Guangdong province, it's close to Hunan and Guangxi provinces. After reaching Guangzhou, it's another 6 hour-ride on the road. It says Lianzhou is an ancient city with over a thousand years' history but what I saw was a town packed of pragmatic but poorly maintained buildings from the late 80s and onwards. The few buildings I have seen dated earlier than the second world war were in really bad conditions. The only exceptions were the factories and warehouses used for the venues of the photo festival.
It was covered by a very think smog although it's surrounded by mountains. It's dusty everywhere. On the way to Lianzhou, even leaves were covered by a layer of dust which may come from the cement factories nearby and power plants. On the roadside, I didn't see other industries but small vegetable farms, garages and gas stations.
As usual, you felt overwhelmed with so many artists' works and ended up forgetting what you have seen. Actually not many participating artists attended because of its location, I guess. In the festival guide, all the Hong Kong artists' names were spelt in pinyin for English names such that we sounded like other Chinese artists! I became Liang Zhihe (again) and Stanley Wong was Huang Binpie, etc. The only exception is David Clarke who retained his English name somehow (though "e" was missing there).
I exhibited my new series Fish Farm Houses and provided to the organizer an introduction in both Chinese and English. For some reasons, my Chinese text was missing and they translated for their own version from the English. It finally became something totally confusing. For example, they even invented a place called 漁塘府 for the translation of fish farm houses! Ah....
See my photo tour of Lianzhou.