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Cai Dongdong With a background in photography and image production theory,Cai Dongdong‘s practice reaches beyond photography to become a topology of the image. In Cai’s installations, the photograph may serve strictly as a reference point or a gateway towards the story Cai is constructing or reconstructing.

In a dilemna where photography is controlled and abducted by the object’s original structure, is it possible to creat an image typology? In Cai Dongdong’s works we can peek at another space hidden in the image. Through the connection between image experiment and topology, Cai processes and alters his pictures, and this disturbance is a mehtod by which he opens and links another space and element for contemplation and reflection.


In a small group of works titled “Obstacle”, Cai Dongdong (b. 1978) creates a rigidity with sculptural elements in the photographic surface blocking the desired flow of human interaction presumed to exist in the subject and narrative depicted in the ‘real’ photograph. This intrusion and manipulation by the artist of both the physical photograph and conceptual image underscores a malleability of meaning and construction in not just the photographic image but in the reality we construct for ourselves based on desire and real life circumstance.

“These works were sourced from my artworks over the previous years … piled up like chicken ribs, so I operated on them, like a surgeon. I applied various methods according to different pictures: engravings, rubbing, curling, or making an installation of photographs with other ojbects. I tried all I can do to save these picutres by giving them new meanings. Each picture was printed by hand. I looked them over and over to explore their inner dramatic structures, or even another space/dimension. These creations blur the boundary between a photographs phyiscal experience and cognitive experience. The photographs dimension is extended and when regarded as a pure object, the print becomes a tangible place for creation and contemplation.”

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