AboutChinese Arts Centre is delighted to present anothermountainman's (Stanley Wong) first solo photography exhibition in the UK, Lan Wei / Decaying End.
The exhibition features a number of haunting large-scale photographic prints of abandoned, incomplete building projects from across Asia.
Following the opening of its doors to foreign investment in China in the 1980s there was frenzied investment in real estate, which was exposed to corruption and that led to an eventual collapse of the property market in the late 1990s. When the bubble burst there were huge numbers of building projects that were abandoned and left unfinished. In 1998, in Hainan alone, a combined floor space of 16.3 million square meters were aborted or left unfinished. This wave of abortive building construction spread across other Asian cities that also experienced meteoric economic growth and collapse. The photographs in the exhibition were taken in China, Thailand, Cambodia, Turkey and Singapore.
The term âlan wei' was coined in reference to these aborted building projects, âlan' meaning âdecaying' and âwei' as âthe ending'. âLan wei' implies a not just unfinished but also something is that is long, drawn out and for whatever reason suspended between completion and destruction. anothermountainman's images attempt to capture the relics of this mad âgold rush' and, at the same time, reflect how, throughout the years, âlan wei' has manifested not only in building projects but also in all aspects of life.
Abortive building projects are the 'fruits' of two to three decades of futile chasing after opportunities desires and dreams in a liberated society, at a time of seemingly limitless economic expansion. Buildings can be aborted, so can projects, plans and hopes. In anothermountainman's images buildings loom empty and abandoned, but far from being literal documentary images they are also sites where captivating and mysterious scenes are staged. The scenes of figures positioned amidst a few of their possessions evoke narratives of dreams and aspirations which like the buildings have been abandoned.
The images have particular resonance in the current economic climate where the presence of half finished buildings can be witnessed in many cities across the UK.