“Ballads Of Shanghai”: Changing Face Of Urban China

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“Big Dreams”. (Photo by Graham Fink/Riflemaker)

The rapidly changing landscape of urban China is the subject of artist Graham Fink’s solo photographic exhibition, opening at Riflemaker gallery in London on 1 February. Over the course of five years, the artist has documented various demolition sites in and around Shanghai – the largest city by population in the world. The photographic series communicates the enormity of the transition that is taking place there as the country moves increasingly towards a large-scale urbanization and more workers relocate for employment in the manufacturing industries. Not only are new cities emerging but immense urban renewal efforts are underway.

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“Face Off”. (Photo by Graham Fink/Riflemaker)

These demolished areas sites are ‘exchange sites’, where the past is being obliterated and exchanged for the future, where a not-so-distant communism gives way to new ideas and structures – super skyscrapers, office buildings and new domestic ways of living. As a result, these sites are in constant flux – the entire areas are flattened to make way for new beginnings.

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“Mao was Here”. (Photo by Graham Fink/Riflemaker)

The matte and gloss treatment in the series gives each image a painterly quality – shaping the human aspects, stories and ‘ballads’ that pervade these ‘exchange sites’ – wallpaper clinging to a wall, a child’s drawing on a remnant of what was formerly a bedroom a once favourite chair, now left for economy and industry to reclaim.

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“Girl on the Roof”. (Photo by Graham Fink/Riflemaker)

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“You’ve Been Framed”. (Photo by Graham Fink/Riflemaker)

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“Peace among the Pieces”. (Photo by Graham Fink/Riflemaker)

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“Dog”. (Photo by Graham Fink/Riflemaker)

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“Twitter”. (Photo by Graham Fink/Riflemaker)

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“Jay”. (Photo by Graham Fink/Riflemaker)

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“Graffiti Grafittied”. (Photo by Graham Fink/Riflemaker)

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“Meeting Abandoned”. (Photo by Graham Fink/Riflemaker)

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“Chair Single”. (Photo by Graham Fink/Riflemaker)

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