The featured photographer for December 2013 was Cristina de Middel
PARTY: Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung
“If there is to be a revolution there must be a party”.
This is how one of the most iconic and politically engaged book of the century would start if we applied an intentional filter. The filter would hide the parts of the slogans and sentences that got eventually obsolete in the last decades and the book is the Little red one: “Quotations from Chairman Mao Tsetung”, the second most printed book in History (alter the Bible) but a book that can only be found nowadays in China at some tourist shops.
In an attempt to build a documentary object that to pushes the limits of documenting with images, the series “Party” presents a deliberately personal approach to the contemporary Chinese society and adds layers of significance by choosing a loaded platform. Using censorship to erase the parts of the text that are no longer in use in the country´s routine, the resulting pages become a script where the matching images build a series of diptychs that dynamical raise the question of the real nature of Communism in China these days.
The combination of this manipulated text and the images pairs pieces of information that aim to portray China in a more comprehensive way, appealing our own cliches towards the country and their bipolar political structure. The series reproduce the matching pages of the book “Party” published by RM and the Archive of Modern Conflict and combine serigraphs of the censored texts with images captured by the artist Cristina De Middel during her trips to China.
Again the artist explores the boundaries and limits in the use of the photographic image to build truthful graphic testimonies and to raise the debate about the construction of the opinion and History and the role that photography has been playing so far.
Cristina De Middel is a photographer based in London that has been working for different newspapers in Spain and with NGO´s such as Doctors Without Borders or the Spanish Red Cross, for more than 8 years.
She combines her strictly documentary assignments with more personal projects that have been awarded and exhibited in several occasions (incuding PhotoFolio Arles 2012, Deutsche Börse Prize and the Infinty Award from the ICP in New York).
This B-side of Cristina´s work deliberately asks the audience to question the language and the veracity of photography as a document, and plays with reconstructions or archetypes that blur the border between reality and fiction.
Her new book "PARTY" is published by The Archive Of Modern Conflict and RM in a run of 1700 copies and was launched at the 2013 Paris Photo fair. It will be part of Photo España 2014 and in February 2014 during Art 14 in London.