Janus on The Mountains / Valais: The Daily Views : SMArt Special Project Exhibitions

16 July - 13 August 2016

Curator: Chen Shen

International Program Manager: Minxing Zhu


The Sustainable Mountain Art Program, a.k.a. the SMArt program, is a project initiated by the Foundation for Sustainable Development in mountain regions in Valais and supported by the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in Beijing. Within the program, two young artists have been selected by a jury composed of professionals and experts from both Switzerland and China out of a pool of more than 100 applicants: Lanqing Zhu and Jiehao Su. They have been offered the chance to visit and create in the Swiss Alps for a period of three months. Their exhibition in Three Shadows is the conclusion of the program.




About Janus on the Mountains


Lanqing Zhu's Janus on the Mountains focuses on Switzerland's world renowned Alps mountains. Alps used to be the very definition of wilderness, danger, unknown and sparseness. During his journey here, Jean-Jacques Rousseau exclaimed, "In wildness is the preservation of the world." It is human instinct to approach the wilderness of the nature, but under the revolution of transport and the driven of interest, trains and cable cars are sprawling onto more and more virgin ground, opening and connecting the used to be forbidden domains. Ski stations are the principal platforms of tourism in the mountains, they became Zhu's focus during three months. With the appearance of men and man-mades, the edge of wilderness became less defined. This blurry edge lays in the middle between what is still danger, unknown and what has become the "European playground" or the "skiing paradise".


In her works, Zhu collected lost postcards sold at flea markets, booklets depicting explorers and alpinists, complicated and information rich maps. She mixed them with her own photography works to create a non-linear voyage in the time. This journey to the mountains and their peaks started with an old Alps postcard, and it is guided by old maps and people holding telescopes with cable cars and skis are our transport. The artist travels throughout past and present, imagination and reality, but not satisfied enough by the guided path of a tourist, she modified and created her own path to the peaks, proving yet again mountains are natural subjects of humans' endless imagination and desire to conquer, as well as the validity of the mountain tourism within consumerism.


About Valais: The Daily Views


In 27 of October 1925, German poet Rainer Maria Rilke designated in his testament his eternal rest place, in the Raron cemetery. Su Jiehao has visited this cemetery within the first week of his arrival in Valais, and it changed drastically his original plan to create based on the change of climate and human activity in the Alps mountains. He decided to start based off his own feelings, using an instinctive and subjective way of storytelling to inquisite the daily views of Valais ;sensing traces of culture and history while visiting the past, he tries to find an invisible yet continuous local spirit that transcends time.


This exhibition includes around 30 photographs, a video about birds, a sound recording in a closed space as well as several email letters combined with images. These letters are genuine correspondences between him and the director the SMArt project: Mrs. Sarah Huber. He has selected a dozens of letters from Sarah and transformed them. These ready-made email letters (including pictures attached to them, as well as Su's own creations during his residency) left their original context to become induced with poetry of daily life, and due to their linearity in time and their special form consisting of dialogues, they constructed a new intertextual relationship among with Su's creations and Rilke's texts. With this, Su completed his commemoration and response to the poet.


Special thanks to Mr. Eric Nanchen, Director of FDDM, Mrs. Sarah Huber, Director of SMArt program, and Mrs. Marie-Luce Duroux, Manager of SMArt program.




About the artists

Lanqing ZHU was born in 1991 on Dongshan Island, China and now lives and works in Xiamen. She graduated from the Department of Photojournalism at Renmin University of China and then moved to Taiwan to study at the Institute of Applied Arts in Fujen Catholic University. Her work, most related to the home and place, have been published in many magazines and shown at different international art festivals. She is interested in the possibilities of the presentation of photography especially handmade book. Her first book was selected in the list of PHOTOEYE's Best Books of 2012.Her second book A Journey in Reverse Direction won the Three Shadows Photography Award 2014 and Jimei X Arles Discovery Award 2015. She also won the Barcelona International Photography Award 2015 and Photo Boite 30 UNDER 30 2016.


Jiehao SU was born in 1988 in Guangdong, China. Deeply rooted in his personal history, Jiehao Su's work focuses on self-identity, cultural memory, and the sense of belonging. His work has been exhibited in various group/selected/solo exhibitions in Europe, North America, and Asia, such as Musée du quai Branly (Paris, France), Benaki Museum (Athens, Greece), UNM Art Museum (Albuquerque, USA), QUAD Gallery (Derby, UK), Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich (Belfast, UK), United Photo Industries HQ Gallery (New York City, USA), Actual Size (Los Angeles, USA), Galerie zur Schützenlaube (Visp, Switzerland), and Three Shadows Photography Art Centre (Beijing, China). His work has been featured in publications such as The New Yorker, The California Sunday Magazine, British Journal of Photography, Financial Times Weekend Magazine, Le Monde, Voice of Photography, China Life Magazine, Chinese Photography, and Aura Magazine. Su is a finalist for the APA / Lucie Foundation Scholarship in 2014, and a finalist for the 2015 Leica Oskar Barnack Award. He is included in the Ones to Watch by British Journal of Photography and Magnum 30 Under 30. He has received an Arte Creative Award from Düsseldorf Photo Weekend, an IdeasTap Award from Format Festival, and a Grand Prize from Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards. Su was recently nominated for the First Book Award of Mack Books in UK. Su studied photography at Beijing Film Academy. He has been an Artist-in-Residence at SMArt in Switzerland (2016) and Independent AIR in Denmark (2015). He is currently based in Beijing, China.