New Photography 2011

Zhang Dali. _The Yangtze River of Ten Thousand Li_. 2003–2011. Gelatin silver prints, photo mechanical reproductions and typewritten text, 45 1/4 x 24 13/16" (115 x 63 cm). Courtesy the artist and Eli Klein Fine Art, New York. © 2011 Zhang Dali

Zhang Dali. The Yangtze River of Ten Thousand Li. 2003–2011

Gelatin silver prints, photo mechanical reproductions and typewritten text
45 1/4 x 24 13/16" (115 x 63 cm)
Courtesy the artist and Eli Klein Fine Art, New York. © 2011 Zhang Dali

ZHANG DALI: My name is Zhang Dali. I live in Beijing. I did my work in Beijing in some archives of some magazines or papers.

They are not public. They are not open to the public so I used the guanxi. The guanxi is the system of relations. I took out these documents that no one touched for 30 or 40 years. There's so much dust on them and it's very possible that even the people working at the archive, they didn't know what was inside.

June 1989, I was in Tiananmen. My understanding of the history of China changed completely. And for sure, I would have never even thought to make artwork like this before '89. I knew that some pictures were doctored. I didn't realize at the beginning that there were so many because the image is just a tool for the power. The altered image remains in the brain. That's why it's a second history.

In this picture, Mao Tse-tung inspecting the Yangtze River, you can have an example of creating a new image, of putting together pieces from different photos. I saw that they created this patching together with glue. Then I put like a hot towel on this patchwork, and after five minutes, you can separate the pieces. But at that time, there was no live news in China. So you can make the news as you need it. But now, after this research for so many years, I know the secret and what is behind the scene, how they made up the news.

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