From Infinity to One: Qian Yongning Solo Exhibition

22 September - 22 October 2019 Xiamen

Organizer: Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre

Artist: Yongning Qian

Curator:Linchun Zhong

Opening: Sep 22, 2019 15:00

Talk: Sep 22, 2019 16:00

Duration: Sep 22-Oct 22, 2019 (Closed on Mondays)

Venue: Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre 

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


Before making any photographs, Qian Yongning was a designer and painter. As a result, “Existence,” his most recent project, contains a number of moments where the three media seem to bleed into one another – it is a series of attempts to bridge the gaps among them and the resulting reverberations.


In the series, Qian often trains his lens on wild grasses – although usually unnoticed by passersby, Qian endows them with a liveliness and tenacity, and he says they have helped him calmly observe the cycle of life. “I’m just like these wild grasses, even though I live in the city,” he said. Living under the same sky, art for Qian is as important as mud for wild grasses. Through art, he can experience everything in good faith and then pass on his impressions to provoke similar feelings and thoughts in others. In this way, he is satisfied.


In Qian’s new work, he juxtaposes photographs of his beloved grasses with portraits or still lives to form a greater project. He creates his pairings by “arranging those photos that elevate each other and share a similar conception.” Shooting forms merely an initial raw record, which needs keen editing and sequencing to form the resulting visual language. Since the meaning of a single image is often limited and vague, putting images together helps Qian create a result that carries more emotion.


When asked about the greatest challenge faced during his creation process, Qian said it is creating a visual languages with pure intention that accurately reflects himself. To try to achieve such a thing, Qian rigorously practiced keeping his thoughts natural, fluid, and undisturbed. He models himself after the craftsman Zi Qing, a figure in the writings of Zhuangzi who calms his heart for seven days and forgets his own existence before entering the woods to make a bell stand. Art nurtures Qian’s heart, allowing him to observe what is actually disturbing his mind.


Similar words can be said about the exhibition “From Infinity to One,” which is the result of Qian’s piety. In this work, we can feel sparkling chemistry alongside a well-paced melancholy. He keeps both of them in his work – a kind reminder to make the audience wonder where his existential questioning will lead.

As a stalker of the ultimate truth, Qian’s work might seem silent at times, but it will eventually echo thunderously.


Text / ZHONG Linchun




About the Artist


Associate Professor, Postgraduate Student Supervisor, School of Art and Design, Shanghai University of Engineering Science.


Having immersed in the realm of art for so many years, Qian finds there exist no clear boundaries between different types of art. Instead of faithfully reproducing those real-life details, he has been trying to reveal the inner world behind those ordinary scenes, by creating and manipulating artistic images and figures which can best interpret his feelings, attitudes, and understanding of life and the world.


Qian's photographic work has been frequently exhibited in China, US, France, UK, Japan, Greece. He has had a number of successful books published in his field of practice: Mirror (photobook), Status (photobook), 21st Century Outstanding Young Artists – Qian Yongning. Many of his artwork pieces have been collected by museums, art galleries, various institutions, and art collectors locally and internationally.


Qian's numerous awards include (but not limited to):

2nd Prize, Fine Art Photography Awards (London, UK),

Nominee, Photography Masters Cup (Los Angeles, US)

Juror Awards of Merit, International Fine Art Photography Awards (Paris, France)

Honor Award, Center Forward Exhibition at The Center for Fine Art Photography (Fort Collins, the US)

In addition to his photographic work, Qian also received multiple national awards in his gouache and oil paintings.


Selected Solo Exhibitions:


2011  "Very City" Qian Yongning Image Exhibition, Shanghai Hongqiao Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China.

2011  "Very  City" Qian Yongning Image Exhibition, MEOU Art Space, M50 Art District, Shanghai, China.


Selected Recent Group Exhibitions:


2019  "Sightseeing. Landscape", The 7th International Photography Annual, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, the US.

2018  "City Expression" Series, Chinese Landscape for 40 Years - "Landscape. New Sights" Photography Exhibition, Dongguan Image Center, Guangdong, China.

2018  "Monogatari" Series, The 2nd Tianshui International Invitational Exhibition, Tianshui Convention and Exhibition Center, Gansu, China.

2017  "Viewing" Series, "Valued Paper" - Exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art in Australia, Adelaide, Australia.

2017 "Viewing" Series, Shanghai International forum of Contemporary Photography Invitational Exhibition, Monet Art Collection Center, Shanghai, China.