Contemporary Gallery Kunming is pleased to announce the group photography exhibition 1M—Poetic Visions of the Yunnan Vietnam Railway. The six featured artists—Bao Lihui, Lin Di, Li Ji, Nie Rongqing, Wang Yuhui and Zhang Yongning—will present their unique expressions of the historical, cultural and contemporary significance of this storied rail line that has linked Yunnan Province to Vietnam for over a century. CGK has also planned a series of public education and exchange events during the exhibition, including a screening and discussion on the documentary film Bise Station by famed poet and director Yu Jian.
There has been much research on the historical level of the Yunnan-Vietnam Railway, and there is a rich collection of textual accounts, with no lack of historical materials (including photographic materials). Many professional photographers and even tourists have taken current photographs as well. But there have been few concentrated presentations of such related photographs in an artistic manner, or perhaps they have never been presented in a way that highlights their historical nature. The works featured in this exhibition have been carried out on a foundation of deep research into historical materials on the Yunnan-Vietnam Railway. On many trips along the line, they have surveyed the terrain, researched the history, and exchanged with the locals, fusing fragmentary oral accounts with systematic historical narratives to form a synthesized impression that ranges from the macroscopic understanding to the microscopic experience, and a multi-dimensional presentation of the joys and sorrows experienced along this rail line for over a century.
We approach the Yunnan-Vietnam Railway from an artistic perspective in hopes of revealing universal historical facts through poetic means, and of uncovering predicaments and responses to a changing society over time. The meter gauge railroad stands distinct from later standard gauge railroads in a particularly striking manner. It can be seen as both a spatial measurement and a temporal one, and when it is used as a sign to connect art and history, its cultural import emerges in even more vivid form.
1M: Poetic Visions of the Yunnan-Vietnam Railway is on view until August 28.