Hai Bo (b. 1962, Changchun, China) graduated from the Printmaking Department of the Fine Art Institute of Jilin in 1984. His artistic ideals involve the restoration of the past through photography. His work is less about what changes through time and more about what endures. Hai Bo has adopted many photographic formats, from panorama, serial, to the square, and often depicts people shown in various stages of life, the cyclical passage of time, and sweeping landscapes.
Hai Bo‘s work is held in numerous important collections, including the Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm/Burlafingen, Germany and New York.
Pace Beijing is pleased to present the solo exhibition of Hai Bo, one of China’s most important conceptual photographers. This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. Hai Bo expresses his understanding of art and creativity through his photographic practice. Since 1987, Hai Bo has worked continuously in the rural areas of Northeast China, leading to the completion of numerous series of work. In his photographs, Hai Bo tends to choose a specific location as a starting point. By introducing the effects of time and narrative into his photographs, he explores the unavoidable changes that occur throughout history, both external and internal. These poetic images stand as a lyrical memorial to the endurance of time and nature.
This exhibition will feature both Hai Bo’s iconic and most recent works. Untitled No. 8, completed in 2009, portrays an old man in the dusk, flanked by significant still-life objects from his life. By flanking the image of an elderly man with a pile of potatoes and a clock, Hai Bo visualizes the traditional metaphor of life and time in a delicate and subtle manner, and manages to convey a sense of permanence and immutability under the ever-changing surface of reality. Hai Bo demonstrates his ability to excel at recording constant change through photography.
One of Hai Bo’s iconic series, The Photographic Diary, uses seemingly scattered visual fragments of everyday life to record people’s habitual memories that have the tendency to erode and disappear gradually over time. These fractured mental images often flash back through the subconscious like a rebus, encouraging people to reexamine themselves in a way that is separate from narration, and to regain lost memories through a stream of consciousness approach.
This exhibition will also display Hai Bo’s latest series, The Blind. The artist chose a blind fortune-teller as the subject in order to explore both the human desire to control fate as well as, realistically, our helplessness. Hai Bo reflects on the fear of the unknown, pursuit of lost memories and the consequential, inevitable sadness that comes with the longing for something that will last forever. Hai Bo, who is now in his fifties, has chosen to express his ideas on the ever-changing nature of life as well as the unpredictability of fate through his new photographic works. They seem to suggest that even in these uncertain times, some things remain constant.
Hai Bo was born in 1962 in Changchun, China. He currently lives and works in Beijing. Hai Bo has shown and gained popularity both locally and internationally, including exhibitions such as Hai Bo at Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, U.S.A (2011) and Perspectives: Hai Bo at Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington DC, U.S.A (2010). He was also included in international group exhibitions such as The China Project at Gallery of Modern Art and Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland, Australia (2009) and Journeys: Mapping the Earth and Mind in Chinese Art at Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, U.S.A (2007). Hai Bo was awarded The Martell Artist of the Year prize in 2011 and Chinese Contemporary Art Award in 2000. His works are in numerous public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery ,Queensland Art Gallery, National Art Museum of China, Guangdong Museum of Art.