Fine China: Quentin Shih Debuts At South Coast Plaza
Who says there’s no culture in the O.C.? Mega (and mega-luxe) shopping center South Coast Plaza has teamed up with Christian Dior to present the U.S. premiere of a capsule exhibition that features Chinese artist and photographer Quentin Shih’s provocative photos—the first time his work will be seen in the United States. The 20 original works, on display from October 14 through November 7, juxtapose photographs taken at Christian Dior’s Fall 2008 Haute Couture show with images of Chinese landscapes and everyday Chinese people, such as uniformed schoolgirls and elderly people in deserted markets.
“I wanted to abruptly introduce into working-class Chinese people’s lives things that are very far from them,” Shih says of the washed-out images that recall old films. It’s one of Shih’s frequent motifs to place symbols of Western affluence next to working-class Chinese culture. However, the photographer depicts his models in glass boxes, as if they were exquisite life-size dolls who happened to magically drop from the sky. The surreal effect makes for a beautiful and not-so-heavy-handed remark on class and cultural divides. The show, Christian Dior Presents Photographs by Quentin Shih at South Coast Plaza, is part of Carnegie Hall’s “Ancient Paths, Modern Voices: A Festival Celebrating Chinese Culture,” a bicoastal event offering music, theater, and art exhibitions.