Polaroids from the Middle Kingdom: Old and New World Visions of China
Represents a true photographic pioneer; Birk's medium is inventive and predates the contrived nostalgia of contemporary apps and filters. This innovative collection of images is a standout in the travel photography genre Upon relocating to Beijing, photographer Lukas Birk attempts to escape the sense of stagnation that plagued him in his central European home. He encounters a group of like-minded young creatives who share his sentiment of "nostalgia teetering on the edge of melancholy." Hoping to express that feeling, Birk discovers his father's collection of expired Polaroid film. With Birk's medium acting as a metaphor for the transformation of modern China - its rapid development and the void of nostalgia left behind - this book presents a sense of something from the past interrupted by modern motives, a collision of old and new world visions. In her insightful foreword, art advisor Katherine Don details Birk's contribution to contemporary art in China and comments on his pioneering innovation. Birk's stunning collection of inventive imagery captures the vibrancy of contemporary life, inspired by the filter of his own nostalgia and longing.
Lukas Birk is an Austrian-born multimedia artist, explorer, and organizer. In 2007, Birk established a base in Beijing, where he co-founded the Austro Sino Arts Program, an artist-run, proactive nonprofit organization promoting Austrian art and teaching multimedia work in China. His first major publication, Kafkanistan ISBN: 9780985169626, documents tourism in conflict zones with a focus on the misrepresentation of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. An experienced traveler, Birk has showcased his work on three continents and currently lives in China, Indonesia, and Berlin, though he travels at least 4 months per year.
Katherine Don is an art advisor specializing in contemporary art in China. Don has collaborated with various contemporary New York-based artists and arts-related organizations, including Paul Kasmin Gallery, Art In General, and The New Yorker Magazine. Don is a regular columnist on industry trends, with published articles featured in Art in America, Art Asia Pacific, and the Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art. She is the director and founding member of Red Box Studio, a design studio providing a unique combination of graphic design and art advisory services that promote contemporary art in China.
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