The Sky Garden
12 August 2022 -  18 August 2022

Landscape gardening is a practice dated back to ancient times. Zhao Ji, Emperor Huizong of Song, initiated the construction of Genyue Royal Garden, which was built with efforts from the whole country. Likewise, Nebuchadnezzar II of the Babylonian Empire also built a garden complex in the sky for his homesick princess consort, which is known as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The Sky Garden series therefore takes its name from these history cases.

Today, almost every Chinese city has special seedling bases on its outskirts to meet the great demand for trees and rocks in China's urban construction. The gardening industry is in large-scale in cities such as Wenjiang, Sichuan, Changzhou, Jiangsu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, and Foshan, Guangdong.

Three years ago, I settled down in Wenjiang, Chengdu, with a plant base next to my home within walking distance. Exotic trees and rocks from all over the world can be seen there, including Japanese black pines and maple trees. There are workers lifting these trees and rocks with mobile cranes every day, transporting and planting them to newly built parks, neighbourhoods or streets in the city. I walk through the woods, shooting scenes at the time when trees and rocks are being lifted into the air. These photographs are then documented and together they have composed The Sky Garden series.

Zhang Kechun (b.1980, Bazhong, China) is a visual artist and photographer based in Chengdu, China.

His work examines the post-industrial landscape of China. Working with a large-format camera he produces epic vistas that dwell on the significance of the landscape in modern Chinese national identity. In particular, Kechun explores the relationship between the country’s cultural heritage and the effects of modernisation. Kechun’s works are quietly beautiful and hugely atmospheric, using a soft and subtle colour palette. Whilst Kechun imbues the altered landscape of China with a tragic beauty, his photographs also capture the comical moments in people’s everyday lives that he encounters.

Zhang Kechun was born in 1980 in Sichuan, China. His work has been exhibited at Photoquai, Paris, the Beijing Photo Biennale, China and the Delhi Photo Festival, India. Kechun won the Discovery Award at Les Rencontres d’Arles for The Yellow River in 2014. He won the National Geographic Picks Global Photo Contest in 1998 and was shortlisted at the World Photography Awards in 2013.

-Text extracted from Huxley-Parlour Gallery



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