You would be forgiven for thinking that artist Yao Lu‘s latest work was a foray into nostalgia, simply replicating traditional 10th century Chinese paintings. In fact, these aren’t paintings at all but photographs, and the classic Chinese landscape of mountains and mist is actually landfills and Photoshop.
In his photo series, New Mountain and Water, Lu recreates the idyllic countryside that has been reshaped by an ever-growing population and the resulting pollution that comes from 1.3 billion people. The green ‘mountains’ that Lu photographs are actually gargantuan piles of trash covered by government-required netting. He then adds the elements that transform the photo into a bucolic scene with mist, pagodas, rivers and the traditional red stamp of the artist. Lu’s photographs contrast China’s current reality with its rural pre-industrial past and create a commentary on the increasing effect urbanization has on the environment.
Says the artist:
My works use the form of traditional Chinese painting to express the face of China. Today, China is developing dramatically and many things are under constant construction. Many things have disappeared and continue to disappear… in these works, you see images that are both real and fictional.
Click below to see more of Lu’s landfill landscapes below: