HEUNGMAN: Shanghai, City of Shadows

Photograph (c) Heungman/All rights reserved

Photograph (c) Heungman/All rights reserved

Photograph (c) Heungman/All rights reserved

Photograph (c) Heungman/All rights reserved

HEUNGMAN was born in China, brought up in Hong Kong and lives in New York City. He received a BA in Cinema and Television Arts from California State University and BFA in Photography from the Art Center College of Design in L.A.. He was a successful commercial photographer for many of the 15 years he lived in New York City. His work was published in Rolling Stone, Spin, and Paper Magazines. He shot numerous musicians; Usher, Moby, Lil' Kim, Ben Harper, The Black Crowes, Duran Duran and celebrities Hugh Grant and Conan O'Brien, as well as many advertising campaigns such as Tommy Hilfiger.

Missing his "roots", Heungman returned to Shanghai for several years, documenting the city around him. He applied his early love of American film noir
in his series "The New Noir". He's exhibited this work in galleries from Austria, China to New York City.

"Shanghai is the natural capital of international neomodernism because, without obvious parallel, it is an interrupted city. Not only is it undergoing a self-conscious process of rebirth, it is doing so with explicit reference to its previous age of cosmopolitan flourishing. It is doubling back upon itself, across a hiatus. In its restoration structures, which typically wrap or encase the old brick and metal skeleton of the early 20th century in the glass, light and digital electronics of fashionable art spaces, leisure venues and creative industries, Shanghai's 1930s and 1990s incarnations click seamlessly together, as if assembling the precision-engineered pieces of a cryptic historical jigsaw puzzle...the still photography of Heungman's Shanghai Noir series engages in a stubborn exploration of broken neomodern duration. At its most elementary, it exploits high-contrast (chiaroscuro) black-and-white imagery and noir aesthetics as a time-code, translating the city's futuristic highrises edifices back into the historical period implied by its style of perception. More subtly, the aspects of Americana (replete with both Gothamite and Hollywood references) disorient and cosmopolitanize, entangling the city's local storyline in wider and more incomprehensible structures of trans-regional fatality. The city's harsh – even infernal – incandescence is cast adrift within an oceanic vastness of pitiless, world-swallowing night. The heavens are an absolute nothingness (so everything is permitted)." Read the complete piece by NICK LAND



Anonymous said...

love the color manipulation esp the pink bicycles...

heungman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
heungman said...

thanks deborah, please click http://heungman.net/portfolio.html to view more of the series. i can't say if i really love China, but Shanghai is shutter-happy so far.