“Eternal Monuments in The Dark”: Photograher Captures Brutalist Beauty Of Fragments of The Socialist Era
According to Xiao Yang, a Chinese urban explorer and photographer, based in Spain: “I’m a photographer and designer who is from Beijing, China. Since 2018, I have moved to Spain to live. I studied and worked as a user experience designer in my past career. Photography may not be my full-time job, but it’s definitely my full-time obsession.”
“I’m fascinated by the man-made environment. There are some topics I’m especially into, like abandoned sites, brutalist architecture, mass concrete monuments, towers, bunkers, underground tunnels, and many other urban structures. Those places are empty and eerily quiet at night in darkness. But the existence of them actually speaks for themselves, waiting for us to discover and listen to their stories – no matter sad, absurd, heartbroken, or beautiful, they are all shinning in the dark, waiting for us to reap.”
“In the past 9 years since 2012, I have been traveling around Europe, photographing monuments at night.
Monuments bear people’s memories of the local environment, they are the ‘record’ of changes of history and culture, and have become the symbol of a kind of cultural remnant. They express remembrance towards the deceased in the past, the cruciality of yesterday’s wars, the adoration of religions and beliefs, the evolution of the local landscape… In the mind of people of today, they have seized a little moment for themselves, fighting against the mortality of life.”
“However, some monuments inevitably faded as time went by, being neglected or even destroyed. As such glorious and solitary beings, their beauty of paradox is fascinating, let alone the aesthetic value of their design. Their daring and avant-garde appearance used to be filled with utopian and futuristic imaginations, this beauty is dazzling and everlasting.”
“I visit them in the dark and paint them with light. I want to present their beauty with a new approach. By using light painting photography, I am trying to create a door: a door that connects the past and future, prosperity and decay, glory and pain, the monuments in front of my eyes and myself. Creating surreality in reality is a fascinating process. While being convicted of insignificance in front of eternity, this is the evidence of our short-lived co-existence that I could provide.”
“I would like to dedicate this series of photos to those who designed the monuments, and those who were once remembered by the monuments.”
Countries：Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania, Armenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Albania, Ukraine, Germany, Denmark, Spain.