Muge lives in Chengdu but hails from Chongqing, which is said to be the largest metropolis on the planet. The severe air pollution has brought the city the nickname of the "Fog Capital."

Muge decided to "Go Home" to document the changes wrought by the construction of the Three Gorges Dam downstream from Congqing on the Yangtse River.

Muge's photographs are gentle and sympathetic. But life in a modern Chinese city is not what human beings are well adapted for. The atmosphere is oppressive. And 31 million poeple with deadpan expressions hang around what seems like one enormous building site.

Artist Profile

Muge

Born in Chongqing in 1979, Muge currently lives in Chengdu, China. Founder of Muge Gallery. He received the Photographer of the Year Award from American photography magazine PND in 2013, and was selected as one of the most notable photographers born in the 1970s and 1980s by IMA Magazine, Japan.

Since 2005, Muge started his “Go Home” project to document the drastically changing landscapes on the way back to his hometown in Chongqing due to the Three Gorges water conservancy project. Facing the contradictions and hopelessness brought about by the tremendous changes in China’s social environment, Muge rethought his way of photographing and viewing and eventually started using a large-format technical camera to observe the still life at home and various things in nature. In his “Ash” series which began in 2010, Muge focused on three unchanging elements – mountain, water, and stone – through observing the traces of time and history, he attempted to comprehend the true essence of nature. Muge’s recent project “Behind the Wall” recorded his journeys around China from 2013 to 2018, traveling 128,658 kilometers along the boundary of the Great Wall and visited the villages in the north as he photographed the sites of the Great Wall and the people he encountered. The aim was to create a portrait of his home nation through its symbolic icon, attempting to develop a deeper understanding of China, his “home at large”. The concept of “home” which Muge has been continuously concerned with has expanded beyond his hometown. Beginning in 2019, Muge started a new project called “Bow Wave (Huí Liú)” along with photographers Feng Li and Zhang Kechun. They are traveling to bigger and smaller cities in China to present the current state of China through fieldwork, exhibitions and publications.

Muge’s photographs were featured in The New York Times; Le Monde magazine and Photography of China. His works have been exhibited in and out of China, including his solo exhibition “Behind the Wall” at Format Photo Festival in 2019; “40 Years of Chinese Contemporary Photography” at OACT Contemporary Art Terminal Shenzhen in 2018 and Three Shadows Photography Art Centre Beijing in 2017; “Chinese Contemporary Photography Exhibition” at Kunstraum Villa Friede in Germany in 2015; “The Rising of Dragon: Contemporary Chinese Photography Exhibition” at Katonah Museum of New York in 2012. His main publications are “Ash” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2013 for the first edition, 2019 for the new edition. Japan) and “Going Home” (Jiazazhi, 2014. China).

Publications & Prints