Chen Nong (1966, Fuzhou of Fujian Province, CH) lives and works in Beijing. Working almost entirely alone, each of Chen Nong's meticulous photographs takes him approximately a year to research, assemble, populate and shoot. His images, rich in historical context, pay homage to real-life events from Chinese history.Read More
Chen Nong is in a sense more filmmaker than photographer. Each of his series is an epic undertaking. Once he has the seed of an idea, and has sketched it out in detail, the artist then goes on a pilgrimage to far-flung parts of China to find the appropriate location to shoot. There, he builds a set and assembles his cast–often comprising willing volunteers and friends–in order to realise his precise vision.
Using a 110-year old antique camera, the photographer shoots in black and white, in order to print on silver gelatin paper. The post-production process is equally elaborate. After he settles on a small selection of images, he hand-paints each one in a close range of colours to produce a vintage, burnished effect. The result is super-realist, highly stylised, at times even verging on the expressionist.
Chen Nong worked for a TV production before he started to do sculptures in Fuzhou, Fujian Province. In 1996 he established a photo studio in Fuzhou, and in 2000 a photo studio in Hutong café in Beijing. His works are included in the collections of San Francisco MoMA; International Center of Photography, New York; National Museum of Art, Australia; Museum of Cultures, Basel; Museum of Art, Harvard University; and St. Barbara Museum, California.
Text courtesy Reflex Amsterdam.