Hai Bo’s artistic ideal is to restore the past with photography. His work is not about what changes so much as what endures. His photography often depicts people and the passage of time. They or their surrounding are shown in various stages of life, so one can study them or the memory of the subject.
In 1982, when Hai Bo first took a photography class at university, he became fascinated by the everlasting moment solidified by the camera. Compared with subjective oil painting, Hai Bo found that photography reflected reality and nature and enabled him to better express his feelings.
He began to photograph in his hometown, in rural Northeast China. At first, his photography reflected a strong connection to the Russian landscape painting of his education. Later he began photographing his relatives and friends. In response to nostalgia for the 1960s and 70s, he found old photographs of groups of people and attempted to re-compose those sittings according to the original arrangement. By repeating the perspective and arrangement, he tries to reverse the changes while allowing the participants to revive an old dream. With a belief that “what is more powerful than art is the life per se”, Hai Bo has mined his familiar rural life theme for 20 years. The photographic techniques he uses are mostly simple and plain; however, those works have a spiritual power through evoking personal memories.
Hai Bo was born in Changtu, Liaoning Province, 1962. He graduated from printmaking department of the Fine Art Institute of Jilin in 1984. His works are in numerous public collections including The J. Paul Getty Museum, the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Recently, he was included in the following exhibitions: The China Project (2009) at the Gallery of Modern Art and Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia; Speak•Describe: 2009 Cross-Strait Contemporary Art (2000) at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung and National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China; Perspectives: Hai Bo (2010) at Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery,Washington DC, United States and North of Taiping Mountain is All Grassland (2008) at Beijing Commune, Beijing, China.