Enlightenment series


Enlightenment series

Enlightenment series are a 48-part photographic series taken in/around the
controversial“Enlightenment exhibition” at xyz in Beijing in 2011.

“Enlightenment” was so controversial, due to its high costs and it was politically charged because the organisers decided to let it take place in a newly opened New National Museum, right at Tiananmen Square. Also, many people said the show wasn´t accessible for the Chinese audiences it should attract and most visitors were Westerners anyway.

Due to these facts the aim to create a dialogue between Western and Eastern thought / understanding of Enlightenment was basically missed.

I visited the exhibition in July 2011 and took photographs of the text accompanying the exhibited works. Taking photographs of the actual pieces was forbidden, but taking pictures of the text was considered okay.
Then I merged the pictures of the introduction texts with photographs of the immediate surroundings: the city of Beijing. Doing this, I merged inside (exhibition) and outside (context, environement) and combined / befriended content with context.

Furthermore, I got the selection of 48 photographs printed on finest Chinsese rice paper.
I had chosen to leave the text pictures uneited, but reduced the Beijing-city photographs into grey and whitescale. Afterwards I handcoloured them with ink ( assimilating the originally coloured photographs) and revised these handcoloured images with a layer of repetitive ball point pen strokes filling the entire format (28x21 cm), which gives every single piece it´s unique touch. A blurriness, that – in my view – reminds of the layers of smog, fog and dust, the city
provides during this time of the year, the summer season, when regularily strong rainshowers flud the streets in the afternoons.

Finally I put all 48 images in an order that made a narrative sense to me.

Alice Dittmar