“Ballads Of Shanghai”: Changing Face Of Urban China

“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.

“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.

“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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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