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China Close-up

Photographs of Daily Lives by Sandrine Rousseau
12th April - 18th June; 5th July - 30th September 1999

China Close-Up is a selection of over 60 colour photographs taken by Sandrine Rousseau over a period of one year, in the mid 1990's. It documents and compares the daily lives of Chinese people living in two very different locations of Zhejiang Province: an industrial city and tourist resort, Hangzhou (200km south-west of Shanghai), with a remote mountain village, Dongken. This draws attention to the differences between urban and rural China, differences which are currently undergoing rapid change. While the people of Dongken survive by subsistence farming, some Hangzhounese lead the kind of affluent lifestyle similar to professionals in any Western city.

China Close-Up consists of photographs showing people working; at home; during their leisure time and performing rituals, these are accompanied by comments reflecting their values, hopes and aspirations.

Sandrine Rousseau's work seeks to demystify the tendency for the overly exotic image of China perceived by many people in western countries by documenting the contrasting life-styles of people living in urban and rural areas of Zhejiang Province. This will be of interest to those who already know something and have an understanding of China, while having a wider general appeal to those who would like to know something of everyday life in two very different communities.

Sandrine Rousseau is a documentary photographer who has worked extensively in China. She is particularly interested in using photography as a method of recording changes over time and as an aid to cross-cultural understanding. Her most recent photographic exhibition Opening Doors focused on people's perceptions of 'home' among the multi-cultural population of Notting Dale, London, and is featured in the book The Story of Notting Dale.