Andrew F. Jones teaches modern Chinese literature and media culture at UC Berkeley.
Consisting of some sixty carefully composed shots recorded over ten years in various locations throughout China, Chinese Portrait suggests an epic photo album. Filmed at industrial sites, schools, backyards, offices, crowded city streets, ruined towns, meadows, and mountains, Wang’s compositions make the most of the depth of field, using space and scale to affect interest, awe, and occasionally amusement. In most shots, one or more of the subjects look directly back at the camera, their gaze creating a space of stillness amidst the surrounding activity. The effect is as poignant as it is uncanny, an attempt to suspend time amid unrelenting change.