Hong juxtaposes a series of photographs documenting a journey from suburban Beijing into the city center with scenes from a similar journey imagined in the most famous cityscape from imperial China—a twelfth-century handscroll thought to depict the Song dynasty capital at Kaifeng. Beginning with a snapshot of the Great Wall taken from an expressway outside Beijing, the side-by-side presentation invites the viewer to compare the technology of the brush with that of the camera, ink painting with color photography, and scenes of the ancient past with vignettes from contemporary life. By presenting contemporary images alongside a celebrated example of ancient Chinese art, Hong examines attitudes toward progress and nostalgia, but whether he is championing one over the other remains ambiguous.
Signature: Signed by the artist
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Journeys: Mapping the Earth and Mind in Chinese Art," February 10, 2007–August 26, 2007.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China," December 9, 2013–April 6, 2014.