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Press Release: Special Exhibition “Black Gold and China. Photographs by Lu Guang” at the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum

Foto: Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum

From Friday, 10 December 2021, the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum will be showing the special exhibition "Black Gold and China. Photographs by Lu Guang" in the museum’s annex building DBM+. With over 100 colour and black-and-white photographs, it offers an insight into the work of one of China's most important photographers; it is his first monographic exhibition in Germany. The photos capture impressions of Lu Guang's travels through his home country and document socio-economic and ecological problems in industrial China. The special exhibition runs until 17 April 2022, admission is €3. The 2G rule currently applies to visits.

The special exhibition "Black Gold and China. Photographs by Lu Guang" focuses on the hard physical work, dangers and poverty-stricken living conditions that people working in and around the mining industry still face in certain areas of China. It also shows how humans affect the environment through the extraction of mineral resources, how they change and also destroys it. With his work, Lu Guang (* 1961) makes a valuable contribution to documenting the environmental destruction associated with the extraction of geo-resources in a country that, since the beginning of the 21st century, has become a rapidly growing economic superpower and the most important trading partner of many countries - including Germany.

"The exhibition "Black Gold and China" takes us far beyond China. It is a visual message for the whole world, conveying a gnawing concern and sense of urgency. Lu Guang's luminous testimony is also an expression of hope," Robert Pledge, Editorial Director Contact Press Images New York|Paris and curator of the special exhibition points out. "There is little doubt that his compelling images, in terms of both form and content, have done much to raise awareness of environmental issues in China and around the world."

Chronologically, the exhibition follows Lu Guang's travels through his homeland, from the mining areas of Inner Mongolia’s sea of coal' of to the 'steel cities' of the east coast of Hebei province. The photographer's numerous journeys began in 1995. In the beginning, he recorded his impressions on black-and-white film; nine years later, he switched to colour photography, and from 2005 onwards, he photographed exclusively digitally. The project, completed in 2017 and thus spanning 22 years, bears witness to the extraordinary economic transformation of a country.

The special exhibition of the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum shows around 100 colour and black-and-white photographs, which have never before been on display at a German museum. Lu Guang's work has received several prestigious international awards.

"With his work, Lu Guang makes an equally disturbing and important contribution to documenting the negative sides of geo-resource extraction. At the same time, his work represents an important artistic testimony to the current Anthropocene debate," says Sandra Badelt, Head of Department Exhibitions & Education and curator of the special exhibition. "Our digital and analogue outreach and events programme takes up this approach and offers diverse points of connection to the realities of our visitors' lives."

Discussion formats accompanying the exhibition will illuminate the topic from the viewpoint of the natural sciences, engineering and the humanities. They will also allow citizens to have their say. An Art Talk with photography and art experts will engage with  the significance of Lu Guang's photography in the thematic field of the Anthropocene as well as its importance in contemporary art. A theme day and guided tours as well as a film screening complete the programme. Due to the pandemic, most events are planned for the second half of the exhibition’s runtime.

In addition, the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum offers digital mediation formats: During the guided tours, the use of lendable devices enables an individual selection of additional material, tailored to the interests of group and guide alike. Rather than use a fixed audio transmission, guides can call up individual media on a master tablet and play them in real time on the visitors' devices. In this way, the personal guided tour via Smart Group Guiding is enriched with customised, multimedia content.  The museum's own app and a quiz challenge in the app MuseumStars further enrich the digital programme.

The Deutscher Kunstverlag published a 160-page-long, generously illustrated exhibition catalogue with texts by Lu Guang as well as Sandra Badelt, Hu Donglin and Robert Pledge.

The special exhibition can be visited during regular opening hours separately from the tours and the demonstration mine; admission is €3. Currently, the 2G rule for adults and the 3G rule for children and young people up to 16 years of age apply. Further information on visiting the museum can be found at: www.bergbaumuseum.de/corona

Appropriate photo material is available for editorial reporting at www.bergbaumuseum.de/pressebilder. Please note the rights of use and the deviations for print and digital journalism.