Traces – Ian Teh


Few rivers have captured the soul of a nation more deeply than the Yellow River in China.

It is to the Chinese what the Nile is to Egypt: the cradle of civilization.

The fall of this famous river is a tragedy whose consequences extend far beyond

the 150 million people it directly sustains.

The Yellow’s plight highlights the dark side of China’s economic miracle,

an environmental crisis that has led to a shortage of the one resource no nation can live without: water.

Traces: Landscapes in transition on the Yellow River Basin represents a journey starting in Lanzhou,

the river’s largest and first city ever built along its 3,395-mile length situated

in the North Western region of the country. It explores the changing landscape in the river’s basin and

also along its banks.

Expanding industry, a retreating agricultural landscape that sees new infrastructural developments and

growing cities that encroach upon an area that was once predominantly rural.

Whilst unshackled development has improved the lives of many Chinese,

it has in an ironic symmetry fueled an equal and opposite environmental collapse,

placing the country on an uncertain precipice for its future.

These physical changes to the topography hint at the underlying political and

economic forces at play in today’s China.

They are an expression of the economic growth that has so far lasted 30 years and

is a meditation on man’s impact on his surroundings. Here the landscape has become a repository,

symbolising humanity’s endeavours and is fundamentally a testament to our material desires.

Ian Teh

Ian Teh has published three monographs, Undercurrents (2008), Traces (2011) and Confluence (2014). His work is part of the permanent collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) and the Hood Museum in the USA. Selected solo shows include the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York in 2004, Flowers in London in 2011 and the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam in 2012.

He has received several honours, including the Abigail Cohen Fellowship in Documentary Photography and the Emergency Fund from the Magnum Foundation. In 2013 he was elected by the Open Society Foundations to exhibit in New York at the Moving Walls Exhibition. Teh is a member of Agence, VU in Europe and is also represented by Panos Pictures in the UK and outside of the continent.

Suwon Traditional Culture Center from Nov 1st till the 30th
수원시 전통문화관(예절교육관) 펜스

XYZ Gallery

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