Hong Hao Photographs Things (Well, Everything)
The photographer Hong Hao does what most of us wish we could: He’s kept track of almost every item in his life for the past 14 years. Hong, who is based in Beijing and shows at Pace’s gallery there, has been working for over a decade on a project in which he documents everything he’s consumed, by scanning each used item and composing what results into colorful, intriguing large-format still lifes. Some of the images are themed: a collection of mugs, for example, or of money, Post-its or paper notes. Each photographic assemblage reflects a certain time in Hong’s life — and their overall evolution represents the incredible change in Chinese consumer habits over the last 14 years.
We have arrived at a point in our lives where we can document, and photograph everything in out lives. The question – should we? Is there enough room in our brains for all of the visual content we consume?
The cultural and anthropological value of such a collection is clear to me – we have become repositories of junk – arranged into pretty pictures.