Nadav Kander’s Yangtze The Long River opening last night at Flowers gallery.
Nadav is perhaps my favorite living photographer. I adore his portraits. His latest series capture Yangtze river (third longest river in the world) in a co-evolution with the monumental man-made constructions mushrooming on its banks.
The subjects of the photos are imposing and intimidating but Nadav captures/”paints” them as a delicate pencil sketch on a faded papyrus. The titanic construction sites and (what is usually) a force of nature - the river- fade quietly into the background, allowing the all-so-human inhabitants of Yangtze’s shores shine out like tiny springs of grass in the cracks of the asphalt. They picnic, fish and bathe… and it looks so Kafkaesque. They might as well be magnificent theatrical tableaux vivants, but what makes it incredible is that they’re, in fact, capturing China fast-changing reality in its surreal glory.
The atmosphere in the photographs is thick and sticky-sweet like creme brulee. It swallows the river and half-built bridges and cranes, and I wonder if this color is caused by the pollution. If that is the reason, this series remind me of Monet’s paintings of the stunning sunsets over the British Parliament enveloped with industrial smog of Victorian era.