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Hong Hao
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Hong Hao’s “AS IT IS”

There Is No Camera: “My Things” by Hong Hao

Chinese Experimental Photography(extract)

Scene in the Mirror and Image outside of the Object– About Hong Hao’s art works

Scene in the Mirror and Image outside of the Object

– About Hong Hao’s art works



Hong Hao is an artist of intelligence in my impression. The intelligence I’m speaking of refers to the difference of his works from the overwhelming humanity of the artists in the 80’s, as well as from the revolutionary spirit and prejudice of contemporary ones. His works do not pursue the old tradition of the enlightenment period to criticize. By using post-modern satirical and mimic means, he questions and criticizes the real life. His talent and the ability to master different forms of media are also showed in his expressing language.

In a series of photos named “My Things” which is based on daily-life objects, Hong Hao expresses his unique artistic intuition and sharp observation. He finds a common space through positioning, transforming and repeating the arrangement of his objects, thus presenting us of a material world made up of small pieces and objects. The complex combination of the materials stresses the impression of the reality life pace, and under this impression is the key intention of material consumption. This is the image representation of China’s actual life situation and desires for materials. Although the desires bring us superficial colorful situation, it is powerless.  Furthermore, The main idea of his works also reflects the difficult position and ridiculousness of post-contemporary consumption culture in China. The visual impressing, satirizing, past life remembering, and new life desiring, all those means adopted in his works are trying to find a way to create a surrealistic order out of the chaos of daily life, presenting us with a framework that separates the material and technical languages, but also let them be in contact with each other by arranging them together.

 “Selected Scripture” engraving series is one of the main representatives in his works. “New World Political Map” and “New World Physical” are designed in the form of inserted pictures in books as Chinese traditional way. These works are based on the various regions all over the world, but it is unable to reach the places. It is just like a world situation chart with geography background by borrowing the name of the map. The motivation of the creation, according to Hong himself, is to “set up a rule which deviates the original way”, that is to separate the culture information and re-code it in order to re-define language meanings by means of repeatedly strengthening and upgrading to the experiences. In this way, they look like the old scriptures. He deliberately combined the geographical blocks using different styles such as actual description, subjective exaggeration, mysterious unknowing and convertible illusion, and so on. His purpose is to adjust consciousness and the view for materials. For example, in “New World Physical”, he treats the works in a reversing way, that is to exchange the positions of the oceans and the land, thus the abnormal changes lead to the fantasy and the complication of his creation. His extraordinary imagination produced a new relationship between the space, time, history, the present and the future. Probably it is not his motivation to make the theme too obvious and straightforward, nor to make the point of view too simple and superficial. It is a result of the artist’s deep contemplation, and it could also be regarded as the artist’s challenge to those who want to change the connecting forms of the world map structure.

In “Mr. Hong” and “Mr. Gnoh” series, Hong Hao treats typically the subjunctive life of consumption society in China nowadays. He not only amplifies it, but also makes himself up and put his own image on the scene to emphasize its vividness and absurdness. Thus expressed is his deep concern for the current social life. More meaningful is the fact that he presents these ridiculous situations worshiped by current spirit by the way of exaggerative visual effect, and expresses his penetrative and serious reflect concerning China’s current over-expanded fashion culture.


Material fashion consumption is a symbol and metaphor, rather than a kind of scene or a desire. Hong Hao’s own peculiar experience that is sensitive and sharp, should be put into attention, as well as his reflectiveness and critical spirit. He has not only recorded the spiritual and sensational history, but also demonstrated the cultural characteristics of this epoch with a new point of view and way. I think it is the obligation of an artist and also the embodiment of so-called “modernity”.



Feng Boyi is independent curator / editor based in Beijing