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Published in Nashim Magazine by Aviva אביבה וינטר
Critic’s Pick: Lili Almog
The Mosuo people, a populace that has surrounded China’s Lugu Lake for hundreds of years, have no word for war , but they do have Levis and Adidas. The women of this matriarchal society are one of the minority groups represented in Lili Almog ’s latest exhibition and book, part of the Israeli artist’s ongoing investigation into female identity. Referencing a quote by Chairman Mao, “The Other Half of the Sky” reveals the cultural paradox of today’s rural China through portraiture. Ancient customs and modern tastes compete in the richly textured photographs. Like the flash of blue jean beneath a religious gown, the exhibition is filled with surprising details. At first glance, a group of four screens seemingly presents a slide show of still images; on closer inspection, the stoic figures animate—a subject blinks or wets her lips, a chicken wanders through the scene. Though discrete works, these “video portraits” suggest broad paradigmatic shifts of tradition conceding to modernity. The cracked face of an elderly woman is projected alongside that of a young girl, as if the former had miraculously morphed into the latter. Almog conceived the project in six geographic sections: mountain, lake, factory, street, backyard, and land. Fittingly, it is the landscape which most aptly thematizes the dilemma; the artist cogently captures her subjects at sites of literal transition—atop factory rubble or at the intersection of land and water—holding up their half of the sky.
June 1, 2009
Goings on about Town
GALLERIES—CHELSEA / Vince Aletti
Almog’s photographs of Chinese women, many of them members of the Muslim minority living in rural provinces, are at once affectionate and anthropological—occasionally radiant, unfailingly sincere, but rather stiff and a little dry. A series of brief video portraits livens things up, as do unexpected splashes of color: vibrant red, blue, and green fabrics against a bleached-out landscape. And Almog’s subjects themselves are ingratiating, if only because they’re so rarely photographed. They may not be entirely comfortable in front of the camera, but they face it with a charming lack of guile, an openness that Almog never exploits. Through June 13. (Meislin, 526 W. 26th St. 212-627-2552.)
June 8, 2009
Buoyantly colorful photographs of Muslim women in rural China. The women, many of them smiling and ruddy cheeked, are decked out in bright body-covering garb, an intriguing mix of tradition, contemporary fashion, and practical attire.
Mao's Women by Yalle Amir
Inspired by Mao’s statement that calls for an end to gender inequality, Lili Almog journeyed to the depths of China to document women of diverse backgrounds and societal functions.Beginning in 2006, she traveled to the remote provinces of Yunnan, Henan, Shaanxi, and Sichuan to locate minority communities, in turn revealing the idiosyncrasies inherent to the Chinese female population.
The project is sectioned into six sub-categories: Muslim Chinese ( Backyard ), tile factory workers
( Factory ), residents of Shangri-La ( Street ), communities at the foot of mountains ( Mountain ), the farmers
of Southwestern China ( Land ), and the Mosuo community ( Lake ). In each series, Almog produces portraits of various local women in their customary clothing and defining surroundings.
These photographs teach us much about the intricate structure of Chinese society, and the woman’s unique role within it. Perhaps most striking are the portraits of the Chinese Muslim community, which uncharacteristically bestows women with spiritual authority, their own mosques, and female leaders. Almog documents these women in their natural element as teachers or followers, dressed in everyday modern outfits accompanied by a traditional Islamic headdress. Also intriguing are the images of the highly distinctive Mosuo women—the powerful members of an agrarian matriarchal community that resides by Lugu Lake in Western China.These women own all property, do not marry, and raise their children without input from the male.
China PHOTO / May 2009
FADER magazine / May 2009
French PHOTO / June 2009
Interview: doubleexposure 2009
Afterimage Publication Date: 01-NOV-06
Author: Tikhonova, Yulia
Perfect Intimacy Press
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by Lyle Rexer
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