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  • Provenance

    Private collection, Beijing

  • Catalogue Essay

    Bai Yiluo was born in 1968 in Luoyang, a mining town in central China. His highly conceptual bent and technically sophisticated works are made all the more impressive by his humble background. Bai started out as a factory worker in Luoyang and moved to Beijing to be closer to the contemporary art scene. He held a day job in a photography studio, and in the process taught himself the photography trade.

    The present lot, “People,” is Bai’s first work in the artist’s series comprising black-and-white photographs as the “fabric of society.” The artist shot a thousand photographs of people from his home town of Luoyang, crumpled and flattened out each photograph, and stitched them together with red thread. The impact of this photographic tableaux is at once stunningly intimate and vaguely portentous: we are given close-up, frontal access to each of these thousands of citizens. Yet they each remain anonymous, tentatively united only by the imagined community formed by this fragile network of red thread. Vacant and crumpled, the surfaces of the photographs hint at some unrevealed, perhaps forthcoming tragedy. The unique, repetitive labor involved in the photographs’ meticulous crumpling, flattening, and stitching physically reinforces the idea of widespread psychological damage and reconstruction that has been wrought on these people.

89

People

2003
Black and white photgraphs tied with black thread.
Overall: 79 3/8 x 158 1/4 in. (201.6 x 402 cm).
Signed, titled and dated "People 2003 Bai Yiluo [in Chinese]" on the reverse.

Estimate
£15,000 - 20,000 

Sold for £24,000

Contemporary Art

22 June 2007, 4pm & 5pm
London