Han Lei has been at the forefront of art photography in China for over 20 years, producing works in a variety of genres and artistic mediums and experimenting with both the ordinary and the absurd. Lei is best known for his documentary focus on rural and village life in his hometown of Kaifeng, Henan.
The Beijing-based artist works as a portraitist in two distinctly different ways. One series shows portraits of folk actors from Shaanxi staging scenes based on the classic novel, Jin Ping Mei (The Plum in the Golden Vase). In this quickly fading dramatic custom, blows to the head with different objects punish guilty adulterers. This series represent the impending obsolescence of tradition and memory in this era of hyper change.
Don’t Get Me Wrong presents a selection of new photographs, collages, and paintings, as well as never before exhibited video works made between 1992-1994 documenting subjects on the fringes of society in Shenzhen, Henan, Beijing and other various parts of China. An avid collector of historical Chinese memorabilia, Han Lei's works blur the lines of memory and present, fact and fiction, to border on the surreal in a Chinese society that remains illusive and defying summarization across vast disparities in rural and urban China.
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