Lei Lei, “Romance in Lushan Cinema”

locationArles (France)
dates1 July - 22 September 2019
artistLei Lei
curatorsBérénice Angremy, Victoria Jonathan
forRencontres d'Arles

Lei Lei is the winner of the 2018 Jimei x Arles Discovery Award. His exhibition “Romance in Lushan Cinema”, a video collage of images taken from photo albums and old magazines, travelled to Arles in Summer 2019 for the 50th edition of the Rencontres d’Arles.

Lei Lei, “Romance in Lushan Cinema”, 2018

In the beginning was an old photograph of the artist at Lushan Mountain in 1988. There’s nothing of the real Lushan in the photograph, as it has been taken in a photo studio.

Three-year-old Lei Lei and his mother are sitting in a cardboard car in a reconstituted Chinese traditional landscape. Using black-and-white amateur photos from flea markets, postcards, propaganda images from the Mao era, screenshots from the film Romance on Lushan Mountain (the first romance film made after the Cultural Revolution, in 1980),

and photos turned up in Web searches, Lei Lei creates a video collage mixing individual and collective memory. The artist’s nostalgia serves as the starting point of a quest for truth regarding history, family, and personal identity. Which is more significant nowadays, the photograph as work of art or as archival image? Which is more important, the picture or the process of image production; the fact that an image is viewed or the context in which it is viewed? It is also a reflection on the image and the status of the author.


Lei Lei, “Romance in Lushan Cinema”, 2018


Lei Lei, “Romance in Lushan Cinema”, 2018


Lei Lei, “Romance in Lushan Cinema”, 2018

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Aged between 22 and 38, the ten nominees of the Jimei x Arles Discovery Award 2018 are a mirror on today's China, with their focus on topics including the couple, intimacy, gender identities, self-representation, collective memory, public and private urban space, media and social networks, mass production and consumption, globalized exchanges...


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