Leading Chinese film director, Zhang Yuan, launches his new project at UCCA with a portrait series of ten characters documented through film and photographs. Zhang Yuan is celebrated both abroad and locally for his keenly unique approach towards experimental film making. In this exhibit, Zhang Yuan auditioned youth, both Chinese and foreign, for 3 days at UCCA to find those who although live in a constrained reality, attempt to lead creative lives. His chosen subjects will take a series of photographs and Zhang Yuan will film their photographic process. Each film will be displayed alongside the photos taken by its subject. Zhang Yuan, like in his film Beijing Bastards, again rejuvenates our attention and perception of cultural vitality in contemporary Chinese society through this innovative collaboration between subject and director.
For this project, Zhang Yuan is revisiting a concept from his 1993 film, Beijing Bastards. He had only recently graduated from ﬁlm school when he made this movie, and was living in the ancient Imperial capital of Beijing. The atmosphere at the time was one of irrepressible restlessness, in addition to a pace of life continually increasing. It’s approaching twenty years since Zhang finished filming Beijing Bastards, and the people in it have had their day – so what is the new young generation up to? Here in this great metropolis, those people born in the 1980’s, how are they living their lives? For this project, Unspoiled Brats, Zhang Yuan issued an announcement on his twitter to select candidates, calling for youth “with a restless heart who are not satisfied with reality” to share their stories and experiences. The selection process was held at UCCA, during which Zhang Yuan and his team met and interviewed over 200 people born in the 1980’s. Their occupations included musicians, artists, actors, stockbrokers, bodyguards, social workers, college students, and the unemployed, among others. All of their stories both shocked and surprised Zhang Yuan. Zhang Yuan and his team shot pictures of their families, workshops and hangouts, to explore the lives of this generation through pictures and video. These subjects will be the characters for his next film. This time, Zhang Yuan records his unorthodox and creative casting process, instead beginning with photography and later taking these images and subjects to produce a full-length film.
Director Zhang Yuan will dialogue with artist Liu Xiaodong on March 18th, giving an in-depth discussion on the social phenomenon reflected by the exhibition. From March 14th to April 11th, Zhan Yuan’s movies will be regularly screened at UCCA.