The Chinese Photobook
Curated by Martin Parr and WassinkLundgren


In the last decade there has been a major reappraisal of the role and status of the photobook within the history of photography. Revisionist histories have added enormously to our understanding of the medium’s culture, particularly in places that are often marginalized, such as Latin America and Africa. However, until now, only three Chinese photobooks have made it onto historians’ short lists.

Yet China has a fascinating history of photobook publishing, and Aperture’s exhibition The Chinese Photobook will reveal for the first time the richness and diversity of this heritage. Divided into six historical sections, it will delight and engage photobook enthusiasts with the excitement of discovery. Based on a collection compiled by Martin Parr and Beijing- and London-based Dutch photographer team WassinkLundgren, The Chinese Photobook embodies an unprecedented amount of research and scholarship, and includes accompanying texts and individual title descriptions by Gu Zheng, Raymond Lum, Gerry Badger, Stephanie Tung, and Ruben Lundgren.

The Chinese Photobook will also reveal much about China itself, and the country’s dramatic twists and turns during the last 150 years.

Martin Parr is a key figure in the world of photography, recognized as a brilliant satirist of contemporary life. Author of over thirty photography books, his photographs have been collected by museums worldwide, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Tate Modern, London. Parr is a member of Magnum Photos.

Interview with Martin Parr about The Chinese Photobook.
Produced by Rencontres d’Arles

WassinkLundgren is a collaboration between Dutch artists Thijs groot Wassink and Ruben Lundgren. Their work together includes book projects, exhibitions, and photography commissions. They met while studying at the Utrecht School of the Arts in the Netherlands and have worked together since 2005. They have received several awards, including the Prix du Livre at Rencontres d’Arles for best contemporary photobook and the China Academy Award. They were short-listed for Dutch Doc Award and Foto Kees Scherer Prijs, and have been nominated for the Thieme Art Award.

The Chinese Photobook exhibition and publication have been made possible with generous support from the China Art Foundation which was founded in 2008 to help ensure that the intense global interest in contemporary Chinese art and culture has a sustainable future, and to increase knowledge and understanding in the arena of art and culture between China and the rest of the world.

The accompanying publication was made possible with additional contributions by Aperture supporters Celso Gonzalez-Falla and Sondra Gilman, Marina and Andrew E. Lewin, and David Solo.

The exhibition is coproduced by Aperture and Rencontres d’Arles.


Credit for install shots: Rebecca Topakian


The Telegraph, 2015
The Guardian, 2015
Paris Review, 2015
Financial Times, 2015
The Wall Street Journal, 2015
The New York Times, 2015
Blouin Artinfo International, 2015, 2015
CPPH, 2015, 2015

Martin Parr on The Chinese Photobook for BBC Radio 4 , 2015
WassinkLundgren on The Chinese Photobook for Elsewhere Magazine,2015

Includes approximately eighty books to be displayed in vitrines (between eight and fifteen books in each of the six sections); 125 framed portfolio pages; four video slideshows; and fourteen books for the touchable viewing table. In addition, the exhibitor will receive high-res tear-sheet files of thirteen titles which will be produced by the venue as blowups.

Related Publication:
The Chinese Photobook
Edited by Martin Parr and WassinkLundgren
11 3⁄4 x 12 7⁄8 in. (29.8 x 32.7 cm)
456 pages, 600 four-color images
Hardcover with jacket
Spring 2015

Participation Fee:
$20,000 for an eight-week showing. The host venue is responsible for pro-rated shipping and insurance.

2014 through 2016, limited to five venues.

Current Venue List: