Henri Cartier-Bresson: China, 1948-1949 / 1958
The exhibition is a collection of very unique and important assembly of works in Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photojournalism career, and it is also the first research and thematic exhibition of his related works in China. From 1948 to 1949, Cartier-Bresson stayed in China for ten months, during which he published multiple photographs of what he saw in China in magazines such as Life and Paris Match. This was during the period of the Chinese Civil War, yet the battle were not seen in these images, instead, it highlighted the everyday life in the big era. This series of photos also became some of the best works in the history of Documentary Photography. In 1958, accompanied full-time by Chinese officials, the artist saw the rise of reforms such as the Great Leap Forward and the People's Commune, and he recorded these seemingly prosperous castles in the air. At this time, Cartier-Bresson was already a highly-renowned master of photojournalism. This exhibition is co-curated by Michel Frizot and Ying-Lung Su, around 170 original photos, and related original correspondence and magazines are presented.
The first visual chronicle of a little-known chapter in the career of Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the 20th century’sgreatest photographers.
• An important photographic record of two key moments in China’s history.
• Cartier-Bresson’s images shaped the West’s understanding of Chinese political events.
• Includes the photographer’s captions and comments, contact sheets and abundant correspondence, as well as the published photographs that appeared in both American and European magazines.
• Places Cartier-Bresson’s photographs in their historical context, and examines their critical reception.
In December 1948, Henri Cartier-Bresson travelled to China at the request of Life magazine. He stayed for ten months and captured some of the most spectacularmoments in China’s history: he photographed Beijing in ‘the last days of the Kuomintang’, and then headed back to Shanghai, where he recorded the new regime’stakeover. Moreover, in 1958, Henri Cartier-Bresson was one of the first Western photographers to go back to China to explore the changes that had occurred over thepreceding decade. The ‘picture stories’ he sent to Magnum and Life on a regular basis played a key role in Westerners’ understanding of Chinese political events. Many ofthese images are among the most significant photographs in Cartier-Bresson’s oeuvre; his empathy with the populace and sense of responsibility as a witness making theman important part of his legacy.
Henri Cartier-Bresson in China allows these photographs to be re-examined along with all of the documents that were preserved: the photographer’s captions andcomments, contact sheets and abundant correspondence, as well as the published versions that appeared in both American and European magazines. A welcome additionto any photography lover’s bookshelf, this is an exciting new volume on one of the 20th century’s most important photographers.
Michel Frizot is Research Director at the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. He is the author of numerous articles, books and exhibition catalogues onphotography, including Etienne-Jules Marey, Chronophotographe, Henri Cartier-Bresson:
Scrapbook, André Kertész, Every Photograph is an Enigma and L’Homme photographique.
SU Ying-Lung is an independent curator of Chinese and contemporary art. He is former curator at the Museum of Fine Arts of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and is the author of
Mournful Morrow: Four Taiwanese Photographers.
source: "Henri Cartier-bresson in China: 1948-1949/1958"
Author: Frizot, Michel & Su Ying-lung
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Size: 29 x 24 cm