Martin Newth

Gubeikou. 20 August, 2019


Yangshuo.  23 – 28 August, 2019


Hong Kong.  28 August – 4 September, 2019




The red, negative images were made in the summer of 2019. They were shot using an old large-format field camera. Instead of film, the camera’s darkslides were loaded with colour photographic paper. This type of paper is designed to be used in the controlled conditions of a darkroom. In the searing heat of mid-summer, when deployed to photograph the landscape, the paper fails to faithfully reproduce a full spectrum of colours. Instead, each negative is covered in a rose, orange and magenta cast.



    The painterly effect that this process generates echoes the ink of traditional Chinese paintings. The Great Wall at Gubeikou and the beguiling karst mountains of Yangshuo were selected because of their status as quintessentially Chinese and their place in the nation’s art. Traditional landscape painting is a highly valued art form and taught as a distinct subject at universities all over China. Students who have studied Chinese painting will not have done so without recreating views of the Great Wall or the strangely vertiginous limestone hills that make up the area in and around Yangshuo. There is an inextricable link between the way the landscape has been depicted and the way it looks now. For example, the Great Wall has gone through periods of neglect but is now protected and celebrated as a central part of the Chinese national identity. Similarly, now one of China’s top tourist destinations the landscape of Yangshuo is deeply embedded in the cultural psyche of the Chinese people.
    Hong Kong represents a modern-day construction of landscape and illustrates the conflicting forces of nature and capital. Echoing the mountains of inland China, the towering office and residential blocks seem to defy physics in the way they cling to the rising peaks of the tropical island. The struggle for the construction of national identity is nowhere more evident than in Hong Kong.    
    The trip from Beijing to Hong Kong, via the Great Wall and Yangshuo, in summer 2019, was made possible thanks to the Red Mansion Foundation. The Red Mansion Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, which promotes artistic exchange between China and Great Britain through exhibitions, exchange programmes and, publications and the Red Mansion Art Prize.    
    Installation at Weston Studio, Royal Academy of Arts, 2020    
    Installation at Weston Studio, Royal Academy of Arts, 2020    
    Installation at Weston Studio, Royal Academy of Arts, 2020    

    Great Wall at Gubeiku, 20 August, 2019    


    Yu Long River, Yangshuo. 25 August, 2019    
    Jade Mountain, Yangshuo. 24 August, 2019    
    Yu Long River (II), Yangshuo, 25 August, 2019    
    Negative Horizon, Hong Kong. 2 September, 2019    
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