SOL LDN are pleased to offer Zhang Kechun’s latest series ‘The Sky Garden’, which was awarded first place in the Still Life category at the 2023 Sony World Photography Award.
In this new series, Zhang references art histories that explore the iconography of trees and rocks as expressive symbols of visual language. In particular, he nods to the importance of landscape gardening practices in China, a tradition that dates back to the Shang dynasty and still holds prominence today as a model of Chinese values and aesthetics. The Chinese garden was said to express a harmony between man and nature, each flower and tree holding its own symbolic meaning, such as the pine representing longevity, the bamboo illustrating modesty and the plum tree as a sign of renewal in Spring. Zhang’s photographs highlight the trees natural beauty and grandeur, while simultaneously lending them a fragility. By isolating these objects from their usual contexts and held high in the sky by cranes, Zhang encourages a contemporary look at the traditional Chinese Garden while providing an inventive take on the still life genre. In modern China, the gardening industry has become a major factor of its urban environment, catering to the growing demand for natural resources and landscaped gardens in developed areas. In this way, the series continues Zhang’s exploration of the tensions between the natural environment and the country’s ever-increasing urbanisation.
The ArtistZhang Kechun is best known for his large format photographs of post-industrial Chinese landscapes. He produces epic vistas that dwell on the significance of the landscape in modern Chinese national identity.Zhang Kechun