Past Exhibition

RongRong & inri ― Three Begets Ten Thousand Things

The Shiseido Gallery is pleased to announce that from July 2nd (Sat) to August 14th (Sun), 2011 it will host a photography exhibition by the Beijing-based photographer team RongRong & inri.

RongRong & inri are a husband-and-wife photographer team, natives of China and Japan, respectively. Their work, in which the photographers themselves often appear, takes up themes like social realities in China, their own experiences living in that society, and the relationships between people and the beauties of nature. Series like In Fujisan, We were here, Liulitun, Three Shadows and Caochangdi have won critical acclaim in the West.

RongRong and inri met in 1999, when RongRong visited Japan to participate in an exhibition, and the following year inri relocated to Beijing and the two began working together. RongRong returned to Japan in 2001 to participate in the Shiseido Gallery-sponsored Asian Walks exhibition, and in May 2010, the pair launched a major retrospective of 170 works, Compound Eye: Works by RongRong & inri (2000-2010), at the He Xiangning Art Museum, in Shenzhen, China.

In 2006, RongRong & inri founded the “Three Shadows Photography Art Centre” in the Beijing suburb of Caochangdi, the first private contemporary art space in China dedicated to photography. This 2,500m2 facility (situated on 4,600m2 grounds) aims to be a platform for discovering, popularizing, and developing Chinese contemporary photographic art. Throughout the year it holds a variety of exhibitions, publishes photo collections, runs an artist-in-residence program, and conducts various types of projects and events. From 2010 the Centre began a relationship with the forty year-old Rencontres d'Arles photography festival in France, and has begun hosting a reciprocal event called Caochangdi Photospring, the first international photography festival in Beijing. Through these various activities, the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre has been earning considerable international attention.

In 2009, the Centre also began sponsoring the “Three Shadows Photography Award,” a program that aims to discover and cultivate young Chinese photographers. Shiseido has supported this program, as part of its Mecenat activities, with the “Shiseido Prize” awarded to women photographers.

The title of this current exhibition, Three Begets Ten Thousand Things, comes from Lao Tzu's classic text Tao Te Ching, in which it is written, “the Way begets the one, the one begets the two, the two begets the three, and the three begets the infinite [lit. ‘the ten-thousand’].” In this same sense, the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre founded by RongRong & inri is a single place from which an infinity of photographic worlds might be conceived, and the two photographers say that the name “Three Shadows” contains a definite link to this ideal.

At this exhibition, featured photo series include: Liulitun, which explores the redevelopment of the Beijing Siheyuan (traditional Chinese courtyard house) where RongRong & inri used to live; Three Shadows, which chronicles their establishment of the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre after their move to the Beijing suburb of Caochangdi; and Caochangdi, which shows the two photographers building their family and lives there. The couple have used their encounters in photography to understand one another, to overcome barriers of nationality and language, to live together, marry, and build a family with their three children, and to establish their Centre, and throughout all of these changes their photographic work has changed as well. In the Liulitun series there is a deep sadness at the departure of a previously familiar habitat, but the Three Shadows series that captures the process of founding the Centre, and the Caochangdi series, with its portraits of children, offer a sense of hope for the future, and a sense of peace, confidence, and mutual trust.

All are welcome to come see these works and appreciate how they chronicle the paths these photographic artists have pursued, hopefully, against the backdrop of a modernizing China.

The Artists

The husband-and-wife photography team RongRong & inri are natives of China and Japan, respectively. RongRong was born in Zhangzhou, Fujian province in 1968. He studied photography at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 1992, then the following year moved to an area known as the East Village on the outskirts of the city. He began earning critical attention with his East Village series, which captured many of the young avant-garde artists in the area over an extended period of time. From 1996 through 1998 he published NEWPHOTO, a photography journal that introduced Chinese photographers who would have had no other opportunity to show their work at that time, and was also instrumental in bringing contemporary Chinese photography to the attention of the world.
inri was born in Kanagawa prefecture, Japan in 1973. She graduated from the Nippon Photography Institute in Tokyo in 1994, then joined the photography department of the Asahi News. In 1997, she struck off on her own to pursue creative activities as a freelance photographer.
These two photographers, with their separate experiences in the field, met in 1999, when RongRong visited Japan to participate in an exhibition, and the following year inri moved to Beijing to join him and form the collaborative team of RongRong & inri. In 2006, they founded Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in the Caochangdi arts district, the first private Chinese art space dedicated solely to contemporary photography.

Selected Major Solo Exhibitions

2011 “RongRong & inri”, Michel Ku Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
2010 “Compound Eye”, He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China
“RongRong & inri”, Gallery MEM, Tokyo, Japan
2008 “From Six Mile Village to Three Shadows”, Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing, China
2008 “Ruins to Renewal: Works by RongRong & inri”, SF Cameraworks, San Francisco, USA
2008 “RongRong & inri: The Power of Ruins. Between Destruction and Construction”, Casa Asia, Madrid and Barcelona, Spain
2007 “RongRong & inri”, Rencontres d'Arles, France
2006 “The Third Space”, Alexander Ochs Gallerie, Berlin, Germany
2006 “Liulitun”, Chambers Fine Art, New York, USA
2005 “Beyond”, Walsh Gallery, Chicago, USA
2003 “Tui-Transfiguration: The Image World of RongRong and inri”, Dashangzi Art district, Beijing, China

Selected Major Group Exhibitions

2009-10 “Still Life: 2009 Europalia - China International Art Festival”, Brussels, Belgium
2009 “2009 Guangzhou Photo Biennial”, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China
2009 “Couples in Contemporary Art”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China
2008 “Christian Dior & Chinese Artist”, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
2008 “While Alive: Chinese Contemporary Photographs”, Daegu Photo Biennale 2008, Daegu, Korea
2007 “Convection”, Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing, China
2007 “Net: Reimiganing Space, Time and Culture”, CHAMBERS FINE ART BEIJING, Beijing, China
2006 “Inner Scopes”, Shanghai Gallery of Art, Shanghai, China
2006 “Intimate Beijing-Photography exhibition (China-Japan-Netherlands)”, 706 Factory, Beijing, China
2006 “Another world - photography from China”, Lukas Feichtner Gallery, Vienna, Austria
2005 “About Beauty”, House of World Cultures, Berlin, Germany
2004 “5th Shanghai Biennale-Techniques of the Visible”, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China
2004 “All Under Heaven”, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerpen, Belgium
2004 “Le moine et le demon: Art Contemporain Chinois”, Musée d'art contemporain de Lyon, France
2003-04 “Chinart”, Museum Küppersmühle Sammlung Grothe, Duisburg, Germany;
Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Roma, Italy; Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary
2003 “A Strange Heaven”, Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech
2002 “Dream 02”, Red Mansion Foundation, London, UK
2002 “Beijing Afloat”, Beijing Tokyo Art Projects, Beijing, China
2001 “Cross Pressures”, Oulu City Art Museum, The Finnish Museum of Photography, Finland
2001 “Chinese Contemporary Photography”, Galerie Steinek-Halle, Vienna, Austria

Artist Talk Event (in Japanese language only)

RongRong & inri

Date: July 2nd (Sat), 2011, 2:00–4:00PM
Location: Word Hall, Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Building, 9th Floor
Capacity: 60 guests
Participation: None
Fee: Free
Inquiries: The Shiseido Gallery (Tel 03-3572-3901 or Fax 03-3572-3951)

Exhibition Details for RongRong & inri ― Three Begets Ten Thousand Things

Organized by: Shiseido Co., Ltd.
Duration: July 2nd (Sat) through August 14th (Sun), 2011
Location: The Shiseido Gallery, Ginza Shiseido Building, B1F 8-8-3 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
Tel:03-3572-3901; Fax:03-3572-3951
Opening Hours: Weekdays 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM,
Sundays & Holidays 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM,
Closed Mondays
※Closed on July 18th (Mon) although it is a national holiday.
Admission: free of charge
  • RongRong & inri
  • Three Shadows, Beijing 2006 No.20-3
  • RongRong & inri
  • Caochangdi, Beijing 2004 No.2

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