China. Everything happens at the same time.
We have all come across pictures from China one way or another and have subsequently tied a personal web of associations with them.
Usually, a certain kind of landscape photographs come to mind that seems to confirm the mystical image of the “Far East”: the legendary Chinese wall, for example, which slowly gets lost in its own twists in the far distance; or the golden shining rice terraces in the evening light.
But we may also think of tall buildings shooting up into the sky, or crowds of people with breathing masks sliding through narrow streets and across wide zebra crossings.
“Everything happens at the same time” plays with these images, with what we know and have learned – to finally point out what we have overlooked, even though it was always there. Markus manages the balancing act between macro and micro perspective. His photographs show the big picture but also focus on the fast-moving details. As viewers, they let us reflect on the individual stories behind the pictures and gradually build a more differentiated image of contemporary China.
The patient and skilful selection of compositions capture invisible relationships between the objects and actors depicted. They leave us with cautious uncertainty: Who was sitting on the abandoned chair in front of the construction site tarpaulin just a few moments ago? Does the straw broom, which nestles almost organically against the tree trunk, have an owner? Can you hear the violinist playing on the other side of the building on a passing scooter?
Even typical motifs such as the Chinese pointed roof or the omnipresent grey concrete deserts appear in a new light at night. Especially these nocturnal photographs also build a bridge to the early days of the medium. Due to the long exposure times in the 1860s, people in Guangzhou’s narrow business streets could only be guessed as streaks, and in the photographs gathered here we also do not always know with certainty: are they as deserted as they seem?
It is easy to get lost in Markus’ pictures, to question them and still discover a new detail – as we slowly find everything does, in fact, happen at the same time.
Excerpt from the book introduction by Hajo Frölich, Lin Hierse, Judith Hollnagel and Veronica Leali.
Berlin, April 2018
This series has been shown at LA CAMERA CHIARA in Berlin, Germany from April 20 until June 16, 2018 (Images from the opening).
Opening times: Tuesday-Friday: 12am-7pm, Saturday: 10am-3pm, Pestalozzistr. 13, 10625 Berlin
A corresponding book (33×28cm, 112pages) and a catalogue (25×20cm, 106pages) is available here.
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