"We are building a cultural space for Lianzhou residents, who will be the primary visitors to the museum." Duan Yuting, Lianzhou Museum of Photography Co-Founder
"This museum will find its place in the cultural policy of the country and in the world of photography thanks to its capacity to produce the unprecedented and its refusal to comply with an iconic vision of photography in order to, on the contrary, support all types of experiment." François Cheval, Lianzhou Museum of Photography Co-Founder
The Lianzhou Museum of Photography (LMP) is located on Zhongshan Nan Road in Lianzhou's old city, linking Zhongshan Bei Road, Jianguo Road, and Chenghuang Road. In general, this area looks the way it did in the Republican era, remaining relatively intact as a historical and cultural neighborhood. In recent years, the old streets of the old city have contrasted notably with modern urban development. The construction of the museum is the key to and an important driver of the rejuvenation of Lianzhou's old city, but it is also an important symbol and milestone in the city's development.
Designed by O-office Architects, a young architectural firm based in Guangzhou, the architecture of LMP is comprised of two interlocking buildings, one old, and one new. The design concept is rooted in the urban context of old Lianzhou. The form of the new building blends fully with the urban texture of old Lianzhou. Inspired by the "large Lianzhou style houses" in the old city, three continuous sloped planes cover the building; they create vertical variations in the interior space and form a contrast with the adjacent three-story flat-roofed old building. The façade extends the continuous roof onto the street, transforming the entire new building into a roof for this "large house". As a result, both exhibitions and public events all take place under the "same roof". A roof garden and an outdoor theater link the old and new buildings of the museum, and the space between the buildings is completely open to the public, becoming a part of the urban fabric.
After the architects learned about Lianzhou's local architectural materials and construction methods, they proposed using many locally-produced materials that were unique to the area, including dark gravel, steel plate, light brick walls, and green tiles. The green tiles on the continuous roof of the new building are the only decorative touch, and the arrangement of the tiles produces a rich texture. In contrast to the way these tiles are laid on old-style roofs, the new building's construction retained some of the gaps between the green tiles to allow for air flow between the interior courtyard and the outside, a unique construction method suited to the local climate. In addition to fully utilizing the width and height of the site to control direct sunlight, the architects employed a number of architectural techniques in the interior courtyard and stilted construction to reduce day-to-day energy consumption. Installing a split-grade climate control system for different functional spaces reduces the museum's energy consumption and guarantees flexibility in later use.
Visitors can use the stairs, the two elevators, the sloping paths, or other vertical transportation methods to explore the museum's internal space, which is both a three-dimensional courtyard and a miniature city. Urban life and artistic events come together here; LMP is Chinese photography's top space for exhibition and collection , but it is also an urban public space for local events and culture.
1. Zhuang Hui: "A Shadowless Place"
Zhuang Hui was born in 1963 in Yumen Town, Gansu Province, China. He is one of the key figures in China's New Photo movement in the 1990s. He currently lives and works in Beijing. He began his artistic career as an oil painter and subsequently shifted to performance- based art and photography.
During his engaged and fruitful artistic career, Zhuang Hui participated in a number of exhibition including Xi'an Art Museum, Xi'an (2015); Galleria Continua, Beijing (2014); Folkwang Museum, Bonn (2014); 9th Shanghai Biennale, Power Station of Art, Shanghai (2012); Today Art Museum, Beijing (2011); YUZ Museum, Jakarta (2010); Salt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City (2009); The Groninger Museum, Groningen (2008); Tate Modern, Liverpool (2007); Galleria Continua, Les Moulins, Paris (2007); Galleria Continua, San Gimignano (2006); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2005); Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern (2005); Musée d'art contemporain de Lyon, Lyon (2004); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2003); Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Hamburg (2002); Beyeler Art Museum, Basel (2001); Ghent Art Center, Ghent (1999). He also participated in the 48th International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale, Venice (1999).
2. Albert Watson: "The Two Faces of Janus"
Albert Watson, born in 1942 in Edinburgh, Scotland, immigrated to the United States in 1970 and is now based in New York. During his almost five decades behind the camera, he has created a body of work and a diversity of photographs that are unparalleled. From portraits of Alfred Hitchcock and Steve Jobs, beauty shots of Kate Moss, to Las Vegas landscapes and pictures of monkeys, Albert Watson has blended art, fashion and commercial photography into some of the most iconic images ever seen.
Over the years, Albert Watson's photographs have also appeared on more than 100 covers of Vogue worldwide and been featured in countless other publications, from Rolling Stone to Time to Harper's Bazaar - many of the photographs are fashion shots or portraits of rock stars, rappers, actors and other celebrities. He also has created the photography for hundreds of ad campaigns for major companies, such as Prada, Levi's, Revlon and Chanel. He has shot dozens of Hollywood movie posters, such as "Kill Bill" and "Memoirs of a Geisha" and has also directed more than 100 TV commercials. Recently, Queen Elizabeth II awarded Albert Watson an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his lifetime contribution to the art of photography.
3. Zhang Hai'er: "Bad Girls"
Born in Guangzhou in 1957. One of the pioneers of experimental photography in China, Zhang Hai'er and four other Chinese photographers were invited to participate in the prestigious Arles Photography Festival in 1988 in France, the beginning of international exposure of Chinese photography to the western world. He has held solo exhibitions at Image Fotografisk Galleri (Aarhus, Denmark) in 1995 and Musée de l'Élysée (Lausanne, Switzerland) in 1993. His work is collected by Fondation Danielle Mitterrand (Paris, France); Musée de l'Élysée (Lausanne, Switzerland); White Rabbit Collection (Sydney, Australia); Power Station of Art (Shanghai, China), Shanghai Center of Photography (Shanghai, China), Sifang Art Museum (Nanjing, China) and Taikang Space (Beijing, China). He currently lives and works in Guangzhou, China and Paris, France.