“A long view” encapsulates the physical and temporal essence of Lois Conner’s photography, and with particular reference to the group of works presented in this exhibition, which were taken in China. The group has been selected from 33 years of work; hence, “A Long View”.
The title more properly alludes to the pace at which Lois Conner produces her photographs; her nature of working slowly. Her subject is landscape: she looks at both urban and rural settings through the distinctive viewfinder of a large format, banquet camera, so-called because the original 19th century versions were used for the purpose of photographing large groups of people at banquets.
“A Long View” includes pictures from several of the projects that have evolved over the decades: Guilin and the Li River, the Silk Route, the Yangtze River, Beijing Contemporary and Imperial, and the Lotus. Each series is part of a journey that brought Lois from New York, her home since the 1970s, to China almost annually, and to some of the mainland’s most symbolic land formations and locations. The exhibition is structured around representative works from Guilin and the Li River; Landscape; Cities; and the Lotus. It begins with early examples of landscape from Guilin, from Huangshan, Beijing, and Shanghai, all captured in 1984 during Lois’ first visit to China on a Guggenheim fellowship. The exhibition continues by following her journey through major metropolises across the country through the period of unprecedented transformation; impelled by opening and reform that began in 1978 and still draws her to return.
Evidencing the ultimate long-term commitment to her work, Lois prints her own photographs. ‘There is an enormous difference between the process and that of producing a vellum print. Platinum printing – invented by William Willis in England in 1878 – has a subtle beauty. It gives a rendering of the negative that describes tones from the deepest shadows to the brightest detail in the highlights, giving the print almost a sense of three-dimensionality.’
“A Long View” contains several major inkjet prints, major in terms of the large scale, a sharp contrast to the modest proportions of the platinum prints.
“Lois Conner: A Long View” presents over fifty works of landscape, urban environments and portraiture from 1984 to today. Her art is both contemporary and, due to her vision, she has created ‘a long view’ of the world that captures the timeless in the moment.
About the artist
Lois Conner (born 1951) is an American photographer. She is noted particularly for her platinum print landscapes that she produces with a 7″ x 17″ format banquet camera. Conner has been based in New York City since 1971 and she worked for the United Nations until 1984. During that time, She received her BFA in photography from the Pratt Institute and her MFA at Yale University.
Conner has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation grant and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Her work has been shown at museums internationally, such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Australian National Gallery in Canberra, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the British Library.
About the exhibition
Dates: March 25 – June 3, 2018
Courtesy of the artist and SCop, for further information please visit www.scop.org.cn.