Xing Danwen was one of the first artists of her generation to realize the potential of photography as an artistic medium. Although she studied painting at the influential Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, it was the directness and immediacy of the photograph that captured her imagination.
Xing’s photographs of the landfills of electronic waste in Guangdong Province in southern China started as a commission from a newspaper, but she soon turned it into an independent project. The eerily beautiful images are stark commentaries on urbanized consumer society in China and around the globe. Products made in China return there to be reprocessed, causing unprecedented environmental problems.
Image credit: Xing Danwen. Born in Xi’an, China, 1967. Lives and works in Beijing. disCONNECTION image b4. 2002. Digital pigment print. Smith College Museum of Art. Museum purchase in honor of Joan Lebold Cohen, class of 1954. ©2015 Xing Danwen.