This eerie image of contemporary Shanghai was created using a camera obscura, an ancient technology for projecting images that Shi has adopted for his artistic practice. To create a print with this method, light is projected through a small hole onto a sheet of photographic paper for hours while the image is exposed. Because the exposure takes such a long time, the frenetic movement of people and vehicles that animates the city does not register in the resulting print. Instead, we are presented with one of the world’s largest and most dynamic cities rendered as a silent vista—a new landscape for the twenty-first century.
Acquired directly from the artist in 2004 by Uli Sigg, a Swiss private collector. Donated to the M+ Museum of Visual Culture in 2012.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China," December 9, 2013–April 6, 2014.