Curator: Davina Lee

Amelia Johnson Contemporary @ Former Central Central School Envisioning Days, Former Police Married Quarters, Aberdeen Street, Hong Kong, China

21, 22, 29 February and 1 March 2009

Wang Wei, No.3, from The Standard Room, © Wang Wei 2007


Amelia Johnson Contemporary participated in the Former Central School Envisioning Days, an exciting cultural experiment designed to revitalize the historical location of the former Central School and to explore the possibilities for use of the site by Hong Kong’s creative industries.  As part of the project Amelia Johnson Contemporary asked independent curator Davina Lee to curate an exhibition within one of the building’s empty apartments. a special exhibition of photography from China focussing on the people and places at the periphery of China’s economic success. 

China Lucida cast light upon the aspects of contemporary China that have been obscured by the more spectacular and ostentatious features of China’s economic rise, confronting assumptions on Chinese contemporary society, Chinese contemporary art and on the ways in which China has been depicted using the medium of photography.  Girard’s haunting night photographs from ‘Phantom Shanghai’ depicting Shanghai’s condemned neighbourhoods and deserted alleys invoke an overpowering sense of nostalgia and loss for these buildings which have survived decades of political and social upheaval only to be destroyed by market economics.  Wang Wei’s photographs of the ubiquitous hotel attendant taken from the series ‘Standard Room’ reference the government regulated standard rooms of the Chinese hospitality industry.  

Wang Wei lives and works in Beijing.  She studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and worked as a graphic and web designer before returning to CAFA to study photography in 2002.  Wang Wei worked as a freelance photographer for a variety of publications.  Her work has been exhibited at 798 RedT Space, Beijing, Les Rencontres d’Arles, Arles, and the ZKM Museum, Karlsruhe.

Greg Girard is a Canadian photographer based in Shanghai.  Between 1987 and 1997 he established himself as a photographer based in Hong Kong.  In 1993 he published the book “City of Darkness”, a document of the final years of the Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong, in collaboration with Ian Lambot.  His work has been exhibited at the Kwangju Biennale, Kwangju, the Hayward Gallery, London, as well as in galleries in Shanghai, Vancouver and Toronto.