Photos from last nights opening:
Matthieu is in the photo up top wearing the lavender button-down shirt and talking to his friend, the man in the hat.
Nice turn out, with all of us pretty much drinking beer in the street and talking about China. The Parisian contingent showed up, as did the Shanghai contingent.
Matthieu’s been working on this project for the last three years – taking photos of the changing city – for his book by the same name, Learning from Hangzhou, which is forthcoming.
Hangzhou is about two hours by train from Shanghai – one hour by fast train – and it’s known for it’s 5 lakes, it’s fresh air and greenery, and it’s tea. It’s a major tourist attraction for the Chinese and given it’s proximity, it’s thought of as the Hampton’s of SH. Beijing and cities of that ilk are largely industrial with few trees – one of the reasons why the dust and pollution is so excessive. Hangzhou, meanwhile, is a city that’s covered by a national park – as well as malls and shopping centers. I remember coming back from a tour through the lakes when I was there, and seeing a pristine, white, building with a towering LV logo on it.
Matthieu’s photos focus heavily on the commercial aspects of Hangzhou and less on the parks and lakes, so the city looks like a huge sprawl of towering apartment buildings papered in advertisements.
Hangzhou has a long history in the cultural and commercial development of China. Matthieu has a whole breakdown of this as part of his exhibit but I was too busy drinking beer to really absorb any of it aside from the photos. The show’s up ’til mid September, so check it out! We drank all the beer, but it’s still an excellent and informative exhibit.