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Home  >  Exhibitions  > Abandoned


Guo Guozhu  2019.09.07 - 10.27

As a reflection of modernity, Abandoned focuses on the vanishing villages in Chinese rural areas in the process of rapid urbanization, and it is composed of three parts:

Lingering Garden captures the villages abandoned by farmers in the process of urbanization, which will be devoured by nature and digressed back to the primitive state as time goes by. During rapid ur-banization, the number of cities increases at the expense of the disappearing villages. In recent years, China has concentrated its resources towards cities. This country, which once flour-ished in agricultural culture, is currently undergoing rapid urbanization. Millions of migrant workers flood into cities, forcing both rural and urban societies to experience unprecedented transfor-mations. As new comers to the city, the migrant workers find that the acquaintance ties and the ge-ographical relationship collapses, and they urgently need to adjust and adapt to the new environ-ment, which will redefine their identity. Witnessing this process of urbanization, I have been follow-ing these transformations through my photographic works. In sharp contrast to the cities, the images in Lingering Garden series recorded the landscape of the abandoned villages, exploring the marginal-ity of the countryside, be it evident or invisible. Through a lens that is so sharply opposite to urban experience and consumerism, these works reflect the tension between Modernity and tradition.

The entrance hall is an important place for the hanging of pictures, receiving friends and guests, and hosting extended family celebrations at the end of each year. As a significant part of rural family life, the entrance hall is a vital stage for maintaining the hierarchy of seniority in family life, and maintaining contact with outside acquaintances. In January 2015, at a small village in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, a group of villagers bid farewell to their original living space and moved into residential buildings. In February 2015, bulldozers entered the village and demolished the collection of homes where they had developed their memories up until that point. This set of images was taken during the relocation of the village. The lens allowed me to incorporate a strong familycentred element to my examination of the village. The combination of the traces left by different families allowed us to reshape our imagination of the past life. Statistics indicatate that between 2005 and 2009, village committees in China were being reduced at a rate of over 7000 each year. China, the once thriving agriculturally-dependent civilization, is today experiencing rapid urbanization resulting in an average of 20 villages disappearing every day

These abandoned items left behind by the villagers as they departed from their ancestral home. Such objects are often a reflection of the most intimate parts of people’s private lives. They not only allow us to reconstruct the day-to-day work and life of the villagers, but also provide a glimpse into the inner world of the villagers, the customs of the village, rituals and their religious beliefs. Relics are records of the externalized daily life, and are also a reminder of the lifestyle they once lived. The of external forces has caused the relationship between people and the land to an abrupt end.

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