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Chen Jiagang

Chinese Photographer | Born: 1962

Born in 1962 in Chong Qing, Chen Jiagang began his career as a celebrated architect and real estate developer before making the transition to photography. In 1999, he was named one of twelve "Outstanding Young Architects" by the United Nations. Jiagang is the founder of the Sichuan Upriver Museum, the first private museum in China and the author of Third Front (Timezone 8 Limited, 2007). He currently lives and works in Beijing.

Source: Edwynn Houk Gallery


Although originally trained as an architect (and awarded by the UN the accolade of being one of the 12 ‘outstanding young architects' in China), Chen Jiagang has been a practicing photographer for over 12 years, and has exhibited widely since 1999. He has twice been awarded the Excellent Works Award at the annual China Photographic Arts Exhibitions. Chen photographs often feature obsolete and useless factories, hidden away in his country's hinterlands. Among these monumental, abandoned ruins, these industrial leftovers, he places ghostly human figures, reminding us of the workers who lost their jobs and were sent back home to start again. He documents the effects on society of China's extraordinary development drive in these large, sumptuous compositions.

Source: Waterhouse & Dodd


1980-1984 studied in Architecture Department of Chongqing Architecture College from 1980 to 1984.
1984-1992 worked in Southwest Architecture Design Institute as a National Certified Architect, and had been awarded grand architecture prizes in various types for many times.
1992 founded the Company of Chengdu Haosi Property Development.
1996 the Company of Sichuan Gangjia Architecture Design.
1997 founded Sichuan Upriver Stock Co., Ltd.
1997 founded Upriver Art Gallery, the first private Art Gallery in China.
1998 founded Chengdu Upriver Guildhall and Kunming Upriver Guildhall.
1999 elected as one of the twelve "Outstanding Young Architect" of China by UN.
2001 Bigining to be an artist from then on.
2002 The excellent works prize of the 20th China Photographic Exhibition.
2003 The excellent works prize of the 21th China Photographic Exhibition.

Personal Exhibitions
2012
Diseased City, Paris-Beijing Photo Gallery, Paris, France
Chen Jiagang photography, Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland

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Author: Thircuir, Chen Jiagang
Publisher: Thircuir
Year: 2012 - Pages: 96
Featuring the most prominent names in contemporary Chinese photography, these pocket-sized monographs explore the extraordinary diversity of the genre and showcase a creative, liberated, and unique artistic perspective. The collections present an obscure tableau of modern Chinese society, from magnificent landscapes and never-before-seen industrial compounds to the desires of China’s new youth and its growing sociopolitical challenges. The imagery from some of the most exciting artists working today—including “the invisible man” photos of Liu Bolin and the world-famous coal miner portraits of Song Chao—is prefaced with a concise essay that explains the background and inspiration of each featured photographer.

Chen Jiagang has taken the former industrial compounds built in central cities of China during the sixties (the Third Front) as the subject matter of his first bodies of work. Trying to capture the specters of industry that still reside there, his pictures tell the sad story of these cities, which in their time were the incarnation of the social ideal, the glory of the country but which have since become useless industrial cemeteries and endless wasteland Making use of an extremely large format camera, Chen Jiagang is fully engaged in a realist but narrative documentation of abandoned and desolate landscapes and the scars left by time and neglect on such regions.
 
Chen Jiagang: Third Front
Author: Feng Boyi, Zhou Minghao, Chen Jiagang
Publisher: Timezone 8
Year: 2008 - Pages: 170
Capturing another side of China, a country currently experiencing one of the highest rates of development in the world, Chen Jiagang's sumptuous, large-scale color photographs of monumental industrial wastelands make us question the usefulness, or absurdity, of the mad development that humans so intrinsically pursue.
 
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