The Great Leap Forward presents separate bodies of work by Melbourne photographers Selina Ou and Matthew Sleeth made during an invited visit to China in September 2003. This is work that sets about continuing the photographers? own pictorial interests rather than searching for the ?essence? of China. Thus, Ou?s images are all more or less formally composed portraits, while Sleeth?s are fragments of ?red China?, plucked from the flux of visual experience with a singular wit. The paradox of the documentary genre is upfront in this work: the China the photographers present to us is one of their own imagining. In turning away from a search for authenticity they could be thought of as ?post-tourists?, delighting in the inauthenticity of the normal tourist experience. and yet we suspect there is some truth to be found in their images, some observation of the new China, some link to the real.
Adapted from ?Made In China? Catalogue essay by Daniel Palmer.
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Seven nights after dark