“This is an age of craziness. We have no choice but to be insanely excited and scream and shake as we go faster and faster.”

Born Changsha, Hunan (CZ 1978, HK 1980). Live and work in Beijing

Friends since childhood, Chen Zhuo and Huang Keyi find digital photography and Photoshop the perfect marriage of media for their exuberant view of the new China. Taking up to a month over each picture, they integrate real and virtual images, duplicating here and erasing there. In the process, they say, “some of our works become more real than reality, while others convert reality into fiction.” The China Carnival series (2007) portrays the country as a frenzied fun park where Chairman Mao gives his blessing to roller-coaster riders, romantic love merges happily with shopping, and the sky is too blue to be true. But there’s a grim subtext to these pictures, seen in the identical faces and robotic poses of the crowds, and in the red balloons that resemble spatters of blood. Other photos in the series (which includes a short video) show black limousines surrounded by dead female bodies, and a missile silo in which a line of saluting soldiers recreates a multi-armed kuanyin goddess.


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