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The Western imagination of China has been defined throughout history by 13th-century explorers such as Marco Polo and modern politicians such as Henry Kissinger. But also through stories that arose from the imaginations of writers who had never set foot in China themselves, but whose work nevertheless strongly influenced the Western view of China.

With China’s increasing visibility on the world stage, a wave of discussions and misunderstandings has arisen about its politics, economy, technology and culture. With the exhibition China Imagined, the two China-based curators He Yining and Ruben Lundgren have brought together a relevant selection of contemporary photographers who have been active in China over the past ten years. In doing so, they show the ambivalence, complexity and diversity of Chinese society.

China Imagined tries to understand the current construction of Chinese imagination and to investigate the problem of photographic representation in intercultural contexts. In times of uncertain international relations amid a global pandemic, the exhibition seeks to help bridge the undeniable gap of misunderstanding between the Western and Chinese audiences.

He Yining & Ruben Lundgren, Breda, September 2020

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