- Tugo Cheng’s photo exhibition ‘Earth & Water’ is focused on how humans have shaped nature for food
- His signature geometric landscapes are on show at Hong Kong’s Gallery by the Harbour
Hong Kong photographer Tugo Cheng has gone against the coronavirus tide with his decision to push ahead with his China-focused exhibition that opens today, defying the ongoing health crisis that has paralysed much of the city.
"The arts scene has really suffered lately, with so many events like Art Basel and Art Central cancelled, on top of schools being closed and people working from home. I really wanted to give the city something."
"Earth & Water", on show at Gallery by the Harbour in Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, until March 22, is a stunning body of work that shows "how magical nature can be when man works in harmony with it".
Comprising mostly drone aerial shots, the collection focuses on remote parts of China that Cheng desperately wanted to bring to a wider audience. For this show, he follows six themes: fish, tea, salt, oil, rice and wheat.
"People have long been reshaping nature to cultivate food," he says. "And this human expression of creativity and survival results in unintentional landscapes and visual patterns that describe ancient cultures and traditions," says Cheng, adding it was vital to show the landscape behind what people consume every day.
"I wanted to make that connection between nature and the people who work that land," says Cheng. "I wanted to show how we shape nature … If you look closely, you can see one or two people in each image," says the award-winning photographer, who first gained global exposure in 2015 when he won a National Geographic competition with a photo showing a section of Tian Shan, the largest mountain range in Central Asia.
Staying true to his style, "Earth & Water" shows bold geometrically powerful landscapes that not only tell stories about the area's culture and culinary roots, but also strongly reflect the artist's architectural background.
The collection includes images from his early work focusing on Xiapu, a small region along the southeast China coastline in Fujian province. On the surface, these black-and-white shots of bamboo fishing rods and fishermen aquafarming paint a stark but beautiful scene. But scratch deeper and the message is darker, with rapid development threatening the fishing communities and the traditions they are built on.
The images formed the backbone of Cheng's series, "Discovering Fujian". And discovering seems an apt reference. Today Xiapu is a magnet for photographers lured by the freakish geometric landscape. According to local media, more than 400,000 professional and amateur photographers visited Xiapu in 2016.
But it's the new additions to Cheng's collection, shots taken last year of layered rice fields in Guangxi " the scenery soaked autonomous region in southern China " to the textured mountains of Tibet and the illuminating landscapes of Qinghai " a landlocked province in northwest China " that reveal a dramatic upgrade in Cheng's colour palette, begging the question as to whether the artist has himself experienced any changes, professional or personal.
"I got married recently so maybe that is why my new images have more colour."
Gallery at the Harbour
Shop 207, Level 2, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.
For more details visit the Blue Lotus Gallery website
Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.查看原始文章