Moon Rabbit – Lost in China
During my many years of involvement with ancient cultures, the idea of respect for the elderly and the young in family and society came to the fore. This culture, which I found in the countries of East Asia in books, films and stories, became my companion in the nineties in times of personal changes and new beginnings. I travelled to China for the first time in 1998. The journey took me from Beijing in the northeast along the Yellow River to Kashgar in the northwest of the country. Three more visits would follow, most recently in 2018. It was over this time span of twenty years, that I took my photographs – initially analogue, then digital. At the same time this vast, populous country faced a rapid restructuring of the society. On a different level this period was witness to revolutionary innovations in photographic technology. Both developments had a huge impact on my perception and my conception of images.
‘What a strange thing time is!’ I said. ‘I once lost a love. It’s a long time ago now. But, still, that does not alter the fact that I lost a love.’ *
On my first trips the vistas of panoramic landscapes in a predominantly agrarian, multi-ethnic state and the quotidian scenes in urban and rural settings reminded me of pre-modern times in the West.
As if I were to see scenes that I knew from historical depictions and portrayals in which, accompanied by political power and exploitation, population growth and decreasing poverty, socio-political and economic developments proceeded over centuries. A kind of historical mirror and at the same time a kind of tableau, on which time seemed to stand still.
… at times the memory of things I must have experienced flutters about me – how otherwise could I remember them! You said so yourself, that things we believe to be memories are in fact the present… It’s convincing. But then it confuses, too. For it snatches the time, utterly, away from the things we encounter, and often I no longer know where I am in my life. *
© Rosemarie Zens