A Hometown: 2056 kilometers, 360 villagers, countless apples & a farewell
Publisher: Jiazazhi Press
Zhang Xiao’s photobook “A Hometown: 2056 kilometers, 360 villagers, countless apples & a farewell” unites more than a dozen series that the Chinese artist has created about his hometown in Yantai in the Shandong Province since 2011. At times cold and comprehensive, other times warm and sentimental, Zhang Xiao engages with the concet of the hometown, its meaning amidst the rapid social and economic changes of contemporary China, and his own estrangement and connectedness. During the years he spent exploring the subject – both concretely in the form of his home village as well as conceptually – Zhang gradually built and rediscovered rural aesthetics from his own childhood, contextualizes the countryside villages with the highly urbanized cities, portraits villagers and weaves complex narratives, symbols and metaphors between the various series and individual photographs.
“I returned to the place where I was born and grew up to retrieve my memories, since only the memories are lovely while the present is too dreadful to revisit. The rapid development of the economy in Chinese society also brings massive impact to the countryside. This is a process in which everything is linked with economic interest. We have no other choice but to face this reality. We cannot be sure if this kind of impact is positive or not.”
― from Zhang Xiao’s foreword (all text included in Chinese and in English translation)