Into the Mountain: A Solo Exhibition of Liao Zekai

14 July - 14 August 2019 Xiamen

Organiser:Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre

Artist: LIAO Zekai

Curator: ZHONG Linchun


Opening: 14, July, 2019  15:00

Artist Talk : 14, July, 2019  16:00

Duration:14, July—14 , August, 2019 (Closed on Mondays)

Venue:  Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre 

(301, Building No. 2, Xinlinwan Business Center, Jimei District, Xiamen)


Exodus for Zekai is cultivation.


He grew up in the city, but like most other children his heart was happiest when he was playing in the mountains. Time passed, he studied, he traveled in England. Then, one, day, he went to Iceland and faced the wilderness. The space between heaven and earth, the scenery, the vegetation, the sounds – the virtual world could encapsulate none of this. From then on, he decided to put himself in nature, to find himself in it.


The journey to the mountain dissolved him. He wandered the woods. He feared snakes and spiders, but he continued to walk, listening to the wind as it whistled through the leaves of trees. He liked the expanse of a mountain peak; he liked the tightness of a forest, where trees intertwined.His heart beat slower after years of shooting. Like Lao Tzu said, “humans should take their laws from the earth.”


From abroad he returned to Fujian and took more photographs of mountains. He suddenly thought about a person born close-by, the writer Lin Yutang. Lin often went to the river as a child and gazed at the same mountains; watching the changes in the clouds surrounding the peaks cultivated his personality. Zekai pondered this. He wrote, “If I have some sound ideas and simple thoughts, it is due to the beautiful mountains of Banzi Town.” It’s hard to imagine a mountain today carrying this same power.


Zekai didn’t think much, instead using photography as a vessel to look at and take in the world. His works may not have originated directly from his homeland  Ansel Adams and Awoiska Van der Molan were primary inspirations  but his journey is one through the cultural consciousness of China, inspired by mountains and forests. He read ancient tales and poems, which like seeds sprouted after a rain atop the peaceful mountain. He studied classical Chinese thinkers like Chuang Tzu, yearning for a bigger world.  


It is valuable that Zekai remains curious not only about nature but also about himself and the life he wishes to lead. He appreciates all of it, and he hopes to go back to the mountains to photograph more.


At the opening of this exhibition, we invite all friends and guests to join one another on a journey to the mountain.


—Zhong Linchun