January 15–February 14, 2009
32 East 57th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY
Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to present "Adou: Samalada," an exhibition of 30 gelatin silver prints from the photographer’s most recent series (2006-2007). This marks Adou’s first exhibition at Pace/MacGill Gallery and in the United States, as the gallery was first introduced to the artist at Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing in 2007.
Inspired by the documentary photography of Julia Margaret Cameron, Robert Frank, and August Sander, Adou began photographing the people and places of China’s Western provinces. The "Samalada" series depicts the Yi ethnic minority in the artist’s native Sichuan Province. The series’ title is a direct translation of the native name for Da Liang Mountain, the barren area bounded by rivers and mountains in which Adou took these photographs.
Using expired film to produce mottled, dappled images reminiscent of the most primitive of analog processes, Adou captures the Yi people’s struggle to exist and maintain their ancient customs. In depicting a time and place that is rapidly disappearing, his richly-toned photographs become meditations on life and death, past and present. Simultaneously anonymous and self-reflective, they are visual expressions of Adou’s cultural identity, and thus of the artist himself. In speaking about his work, Adou explains:
There is no difference between taking a picture of others and myself. The camera may be pointed outward, but whether you like it or not, it always reveals you.
Adou (b. 1973, Mianyang, Sichuan Province) graduated from the Fine Arts Department of Sichuan Aba Normal College in 1995. He is the recipient of the Grand Prize at the Japan MIO International Young Photographers Competition for his series "Public Buses & Chinese People" (2005) and the KLM Paul Huf Award in the Netherlands (2007).
Adou’s photographs have been shown throughout China and Japan in exhibitions including "Chengdu Photographers Three Person Exhibition" at the International Photography Festival in Pingyao (2005), the Lianzhou Photography Festival in Guangdong Province (2006), "Outward Expressions, Inward Reflections" at Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in Beijing (2007), and the MIO Retrospective Exhibition in Kyoto (2007).
A monograph of Adou’s work is included in the multi-volume set Outward Expressions, Inward Reflections (Three Shadows Press, 2007).