Life and Dreams: Contemporary Chinese Photography and Media Art is the first extensive catalogue of works by Chinese artists represented in The Walther Collection. Showing visually inventive and emotionally compelling artworks by 44 groundbreaking artists, Life and Dreams demonstrates the remarkable speed with which photography and media art have occupied important positions within the field of experimental Chinese art since the early 1990s, and the widespread adoption of these media and forms by successive generations of artists.
Throughout the catalogue, photographic works register artists' responses to the sweeping social and economic changes that have fundamentally altered the face of China's cities and transformed the fabric of everyday life and social relations. Key approaches taken up by these artists include the use of the bare body as raw material for creative manipulation, the surveying of the architectural and the built environment, the synthesizing of classical and historical imagery to comment on contemporary issues, the consideration of China's varied political legacies and histories, and the shaping of new emergent forms of individual and collective identity. Featured selections of media art employ elaborately imaginative and fantasy-driven means to evoke an ambiguous world of technological fantasy, suggesting where these changes may be leading China and its inhabitants.