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RongRong & inri
Written by In the document   
Published: September 10 2010

Courtesy of the artist and MEM, copyright © RongRong & inri

MEM is pleased to announce the re-opening of the gallery in NADiff a/p/a/r/t in Tokyo with the exhibition of RongRong & inri who are a pair of artists who live and work in Beijing, China. They are also the founders of Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, an important institute for Chinese contemporary art and photography.

RongRong started their career as an artist to explore a style of self-expression in the beginning of 90ʼs when the concept of photographic art had not prevailed in China yet. He moved to the East Village of Beijing in 1993. Through an active exchange with emerging artists from the same generation, he elaborated on an unique style of works both as a documentarist and an artist, which received high evaluation home and abroad. The self-published magazine by RongRong ʻNEWPHOTOʼ(1996-1998) brought a sensation for not only the readers but for the young artist also. Their works were introduced in the magazine with accompanying documentation. The magazine created a platform for the artists mutual understanding and eventually activating the art scene in China. Now the magazine assumes a significant role as a valuable archive for early works by those who emerged in late 90ʼs.

Inri started her carrier as an artist in the late 90ʼs in Japan and took portraits of performers including a contemporary dancer, Naoko Shirakawa and singer, Momoko Bitou. These portraits created an intensity only felt on the stage. In 1999 she first met RongRong during his stay in Japan whilst visiting a group show. They then started their relationship through photo-shooting without verbal communication. Since 2000 they have been collaborating as RongRong&inri, after 2002 they produced a series which feature their own lives.

Images in the well-known seriesʻLiulitunʼwere taken from around their residence which was under de-construction via government regulation. At the time the government called for their deportation for the purpose of regional development. Every image tells the story of the massive development project, some including self-portraiture works.The image of themselves standing with lilies in the ruined town speaks of their regret at parting, and, the resistance against the power in silence.

In the later series of “Caochandi” and “Three Shadows”, they recorded their personal history with their newly born children. These works are taken in the new land. These images not only overlap their turbulent days in China but reflect the decades of upheaval that China witnessed.

In 2006 RongRong&inri founded the private museumʻThree Shadows Photography Art Centre”in Caochangdi, Beijing. The building holds a gallery, library, accommodation for residencees, dark rooms, a café and restaurant. The centre plans photography exhibitions as well as related events to promote education on photography. They are open to the public and have enlisted international artists for residential program at the centre. In the spring 2010, they assigned with the photography festival in Arles France which is with a history of 40 years. The festival was entitled ʻCaochangdi Photo Spring 2010ʼand got 5000 visitors for opening day. Daido Moriyama and Yoshinobu Araki also held their solo show in the centre.

* The text provided by MEM

Opened dates: September 25 - October 22, 2010

Last Updated on September 25 2010

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