Since 1994, Chinese artist Liu Zheng has been working on his ambitious photographic project The Chinese. Inspired by the examples of August Sander and Diane Arbus, he has captured a people and country in a unique time of great flux. Liu seeks out moments in which archetypal Chinese characters are encountered in extreme and unexpected situations. His photographs are divided among a number of topics which betray a dark vision, albeit one that is laced with mordant humor. His main subjects to date have included street eccentrics, homeless children, transvestite performers, provincial drug traffickers, coal miners, Buddhist monks, prison inmates, Taoist priests, waxwork figures in historical museums, and the dead and dying. This is the first monograph of his work to appear outside China.
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