"Diffusing Mood" Si Weidong Photographic Exhibition
City: Beijing
Curator: Wu Hong
Duration: 2017-05-16 ~ 2017-06-16
Opening: 2017.5.16(Tue),16:00
Venue: Artintern Art Museum
Address: No.205,Xiaobaocun North Road,Songzhuang,Tongzhou District,Beijing
Participating Artist(s): Si Weidong

Lyric expression in ruins——The comment of photograph of Si Weidong

Documentary photography does not only mean a kind of photography type, but it also represents a social attitude and value judgment. On the other hand, since the second half of last century, the success or failure of documentary photography was changing, with the political situation in the different era.

The beginning of the eighties of last century was a watershed. Before that time, documentary photography, which was about political information, was illegal, and it existed in private. Because of social responsibility, someone involved significant risk and voluntarily and instinctively used camera document the social reality of the era at the outside of photography standard of expressing mainstream value and ideology. It did not have a good way to publish and communicate in public because its method was private and sporadic. Thus, documentary photography is “Untitled” at that time, which eventually existed in a personal and voluntary way, but still, could not be titled as a cultural phenomenon.

There is a question : photography is subjectivity or objectivity. On the other hand, is it objective reappearing for “a real object,” or just regard the object as a tool for expressing a subjective idea?

In photography technical way, through physical optics, and chemical method, put the image of the object on particular media to make the object most realistically reappear. It seems like we can get a simple proposition “photography=reality” or”image=objective existence,” so photography as an efficient and direct propagandistic method is still consciously working with its ”objective” and “real” in social and political activity.

In fact, whatever entirety of society, or some individual objects, people realize it in a proper way is based on a multifaceted and integrated sensory analysis. However, photography is just based on some individual perspective and captures an individual moment, which is an one-sidedness and limitation.

At the beginning of the eighties of last century, the progressive significance of documentary photography is through presenting “another” perspective and method of observation to break uniqueness and holiness of official photography standard of mainstream ideology. Therefore, with mainstream photography establishing on the “authenticity” is destroyed, makes people suspect and rethink the social concept and political propaganda of grand unification.

However, when documentary photography has too much socialization and politic, it will certainly go to its opposite. That is to say. Documentary photography is using personal and alternative way to deconstruct a kind of false“authenticity.” At the same time, when it is created another only “authenticity,” it actually functions against of itself.

As for photography of social theme, according to itself, it is based on a subjective expression of the integrated social experience of the person. Though it is called documentary photography, its personalize and the subjective feature is also undoubted. Therefore, with this in mind, when we are looking at Si, Weidong’s works, we could realize the individual value of the works.

At first, Si, Weidong’s works is not constrained by the local details of some particular scenes and objects. His perspective actually is through himself to roundly sense social landscape that China is in a specific historical period. Through his walking method as a sadhu(ascetic) to get a visual experience, and synthetically reproduce the social attitude that it is based on personal judgment. When we look at Si’s work, we could get a kind non-mainstream peculiarity, and we can realize he does not have a stereotype as normal documentary photography. The reason is after the photographer experienced lonely and suffering, he feels object directly by his body. On the other hand, it comes from photographer who used a comprehensive physical feeling to deal with every scene, every object, every image. Therefore, the ”authenticity” of Si’s works, is not conceptual, and stereotyped documentary photography. When we face his works, we can even feel context that sunburn of dessert, bitter cold of snow, lonely of ruins, boundless ocean, a warp of personality, and absurdity of time. Si’s work could provide a most realistic photographic archive about society at this time.

At second, Si’s works are very subjective. He does not succumb to objectivity. However, he uses his camera to subtly capture a social emotion and collective unconsciousness in our time. Although Si’s works have five themes that are human, animal, nature, ruins, faith, but actually is through the expression of social landscape and natural landscape to deeply analyze people’s struggling and suffering, so that expressing an extremely lonely and a warp of personality, which is in Chinese historical transformation. When Si captures and communicates social emotion, he does not use too much emotional way. He prefers to control his emotion as a kind of indifference. However, because of this, his real social emotion is dug deeper and clear.

Finally, because of Si’s works have an authenticity that he can make comprehensiveness of social perception and social psychology, so he has a symbolic grasp of time feature. However, the presentation of the grasp is neither through conceptual statement, nor truth of the objects, and it is between the subjectivity and objectivity, to make his works have a lyric expression. In fact, it is also a valuable image language that his works have. We could say, his works through ruins and desert to represent our time feature in society. On the other hand, the imagines present some poetic peculiarity. Because of this peculiarity, I think Si’s works have an individual way that it is between conceptual photography and documentary photography.

Wu Hong

2017.3.29 Beijing


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[Editor] 张艳