Liu Zheng’s photographs provide an ‘achingly modern’ representation of China. Each photograph is made up of traditionally and theatrically posed subjects, often staged in tableaux. The upper two works are disguised as 19th century scenes from the Peking Opera, and are veiled with layers of aesthetic tradition. However upon closer examination the works are revealed to be made up of contemporary subjects in various states of debauchery, often satirically criticising Chinese culture and decadence. His all-encompassing, uninhibited presentation of society and its outsiders is reminiscent of the work of Diane Arbus and Nan Goldin.
The two lower photographs are from the series’ ‘The Chinese,’ which is currently showing at Yossi Milo Gallery, and portray a society battling contradictory states of modernization and tradition, it is this juxtaposition that provides the central theme to Zheng’s work.