Size: 16 x 24 cm (approx.)
Softcover, with a short story of Lu Xun, edition of 800 copies, design by Richard Reisen.
Stefan Hammer has collected photographic cuts of urban life on his trips to China, mainly in the cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, Tianjin and Hong Kong. He takes his pictures in districts that are in danger of being pull down, and in the ultra-modern, very capitalist quarters of booming megacities.
His pictures resist any simplistic ideology. They are rather irritating questions that muddle our stereotypes vehemently and invite the viewer to read every detail in the photographs accurately.
The image of man runs like a thread through the sequence of the series. The type of display is thereby permanently varies. Icons of old and new heroes, reproductions of radiant family pictures, excerpts from press photos, mug shots, deformed faces on billboards and vital moments of everyday life combine to create a complex puzzle. This symbolizes in a very expressive form the intensive search for identity in a perfectly redefining society. The community appears as a fake and completely Simulated becomes reality.
He is aware that any photographic work is a very subjective construction of reality. So he develops out the image of Chinese cities from fragmentary detail views and not representative overviews. The imagination of the viewer is required to be able to put themselves in the lifestyle of the Chinese megacities.
With its clever visual play between order and chaos, colorfulness and gloom, clarity and mystery, Stefan Hammer creates a mix of emotions. In a moment we think we have understood something of the contemporary China to abandon this idea again in the next moment. The great quality of this work is to destroy evidence without providing the mystery behind it. (Wolfgang Zurborn on „Mao’s Paradise“)