UCCA Beijing

“Hans van Dijk: 5000 Names” Academic Lecture: Owning an Image


Location:  UCCA Auditorium
Language:  In Chinese Only

Owing to its technical nature, photography encompasses three particular properties on the level of medium itself: automatic image capturing, time correspondence, and simplicity of reproduction and dissemination. Due to these properties, photography has retained a distance between the artificial world and humanity itself. People took control over the world, but nature has likewise invaded the domains people have created. Painting was born long ago, and is yet another way of manifesting human activity, performed by the human body. Photography, on the contrary, stems from human rationality and human discovery of natural laws. Oftentimes, photography influences and changes the way we perceive the world. Photography stripped painting of its powers, constructing an inhuman human-made space, continuously separating the world's unity of time and space, filling the world with “the other” we hide deep inside. Yet, there are ways photography confronts the “inhuman” or “the other”: by the means of lens, some people create images that contain the reality they are familiar with, in an attempt to demonstrate images that belong to them. We tend to call such attempts “art photography.” The artists photographing objects in front of their lens do it in order to reproduce/project their emotions, and later “return” the objects to the world again. An artist can use different means to give an eternal life to objects. The role of art in photography is to effectively repress the machinery and chemistry, shove it behind the scenes, and leave a deep mark of oneself on the “natural image.” The artist becomes responsible for/the owner of these images, and conversely, he's being owned by the pictures himself.

During the “Hans van Dijk: 5000 names” exhibition, while recounting memories of van Dijk's images, UCCA is pleased to invite artist photographers of van Dijk's era to reminisce about that significant period of Chinese photography history, and inquire into the advancement (or its lack?) of contemporary art photography. The talk will be moderated by assistant curator Zhang Li.

Ticketing & Participation: Free, ticket required.

*Doors close 30 minutes after event begins.

*Tickets are limited. No late entry.

*Collect your ticket from the ticket desk 30 minutes before the event begins.


Zhang Hai’er

Zhang Li