Rene Burri • Magnum

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

“If realistic documents of everyday life were new and refreshing subjects for the public, Xu’s experimental images were rare and challenged the dominant, officially sanctioned visual culture, in which such formalism was still taboo. Although art photography (yishu sheying, 艺术摄影) as a genre was recognized and discussed at China’s inaugural Annual Photography Theory Conference, in 1980, formal experimentation was often seen as a “modernist” practice and widely criticized along with the Western philosophy, art, and culture that had begun flooding into China upon the 1978 announcement of economic reforms. Xu Zhuo was at the forefront of photographic experimentation at the time but had to walk a tightrope to balance his hopes for increased openness and pluralism with the reality of confusion and control.” Chen Shuxia • Trans-Asia Photography Review