Edited by Wu Hung.
Published by Blue Kingfisher
A decade ago, the avant-garde photographer Rong Rong lived in a farmhouse and took odd jobs to support himself. “No one was interested in buying my work,” he recalls, and in fact his activities often aroused antipathy: once when he was photographing performance artist Zhang Huan, who had stripped naked, covered himself with honey, and then sat for an hour in a Beijing public toilet while flies landed on him, a villager stumbled upon the shoot and called the authorities. Rong Rong's wife Inri is also keen to break with convention and push the boundaries of artistic practice to the limits--she brings to her work a fresh, uncompromising approach. Both artists are fascinated by the mysterious transformation of the world they live in. Inri's grotesque 1999.Tokyo, in her own words, represents “illusions born from the radiation of darkness--a symphony of the changing light and shadow.” In Rong Rong's “ruin” pictures, the residents of the half-demolished houses have long gone, but the wall decoration and photo negatives they left behind, though abandoned and damaged, still breathe with life. Since the beginning of their partnership, they have worked closely together, often photographing their naked bodies together in extreme, stunning environments--raging blizzards and vast open spaces. These and other images are included in this large-format monograph that also includes documentation of Rong Rong's early days photographing the performance art and artists in Beijing's East Village in the mid-1990s.
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