Photographer Maleonn (AKA Ma Liang) creates whimsical nostalgic compositions like vintage post-modern fairytales. Staged, dramatic, intricate, kitsch, surreal; his photographs do not record reality but rather dreams and riddles. Influenced by old studio portraits, with their artificial backdrops and stiffly costumed sitters, his most recent project My Photo Studio involved building stage sets in his garage and photographing his friends in imagined settings and mad costumes. Of his subjects, Maleonn states “they often look so stupid. But soon the stupidity becomes touching, because you recognise yourself in that reckless passion of commitment, even to something meaningless.” After Spring Festival the artist is embarking upon his biggest project yet: My Moving Photo Studio; which will involve taking his studio on the road, complete with a bewildering array of sets, props and costumes. He will travel with six assistants to towns and cities all over China, photographing his friends and fans. Costing over 1 million RMB, this mammoth undertaking will not only produce a portfolio of new works, but also a documentary film which promises to be pretty unusual. So, keep your eyes out for Maleonn’s studio in your city this year of the Dragon! An exhibition of works from Maleonne’s My Photo Studio series is on view at 18 Gallery Shanghai until January 30.
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