Fabricated Constructions/ The Chinese Pictures

These works are fabrications based on photographs taken of the Pace Gallery space under construction in Beijing's art district 798. In 2006 I was in Beijing and began photographing the almost constant reconstruction of Beijing. On my last trip in September of 2009 I was, as always, surprised by the changes taking place and the level of urban renewal ever in progress. Beijing appears as a series of layers, layers in time as well as space. Each layer is part of a complex narrative in the evolution of modern China encapsulated in the city.

Current photographic technology more clearly identifies the process and the nature of how the photographic plane operates in the creation of images. As I have been interested in the plane in architecture, e.g. wall, floor, etc. I am considering this group of images fabrications. These images are not produced in an effort to document the changes in the urban landscape of Beijing nor are they pictures capturing the loss of its historical neighborhoods; rather they are constructions of space and time, allusions to aspects of history and to cultural myths.

My process here is simple, extract sections from the original photographs and rebuild the image based on some particular belief that informs the narrative of the culture. The allusions are hidden in the layers as they are in the culture itself. Chinese culture is a layered culture presenting a surface and hiding meaning. These Photoshop images are architecturally based, but use the architecture to suggest the labyrinth of interpretative readings. As a Westerner and an artist with my own agenda I am aware that my readings are not necessarily correct, rather they represent a particular interest of mine on the narratives of place.

Structurally the plane is the first principal upon which these works are based, how the plane is both physical and illusionary. Photoshop operates by constructing layers or planes which each have unique bits of information that may or may not be part of the original whole, but become so by and through the process. The constructed fragments are signifiers in the deck allowing the final image to be reshuffled may times.

None of these works tells a specific story nor are they narrative in the usual sense of narrative; however, it is reasonable to perceive them as "about" something. That something is generally the formal aspect of the picture plane and the layers as they overlap each other in the final image. The forms in the image are not abstract, but are actual things that act as construction material to the result. The resulting images are dark and feature spaces that seem to be "loaded" with portent or with symbolic meaning, this is true; however, it is not my intention to suggest that they reveal a finite meaning. These works are not didactic and do not comment on current reality, more accurately they describe a hermeneutic interpretation of the world.