Friday, 15 June 2018

Andres Serrano | Made In China

Photo © Andres Serrano | All Rights Reserved
Readers of this blog are well aware of my current "chinoiserie" phase, of my interest in creating Chinese fashion themed multimedia stories and of my working on a photo book on Chinese Opera.

So it's with great pleasure that I discovered the work of the famous photographer Andres Serrano, and his wonderful portraits of Chinese men and women in traditional garb and costumes in his Made In China gallery.

One of the most famous traditional Chinese clothing type is the Han Fu style. This is the type of dress worn by the Han people from the Yellow Emperor (about 2698 BC) till the late Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 AD). It became known as the Han Fu (“fu” means “clothes” in Chinese) because the fashion was improved and popularized during the Han Dynasty. It is usually in the form of long gown, cross collar, wrapping the right lapel over the left, loose wide sleeves and no buttons but a sash.

My very favorite is the qi pao or cheongsam whose origin is the Manchu female dress that evolved by merging with western patterns. Its features are straight collar, strain on the waist, coiled buttons (pankou) and slits on both sides of the dress. Materials used are usually silk, cotton and linen. 

Andres Serrano is the only son of an Honduran immigrant father and a mother of Afro-Cuban origin. He was born in New York and spent most of his childhood in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Like his family, his predominantly Italian-American neighbors were devoutly Catholic, and religion played a significant part in his growing up - in school, at home and on the streets.

On his website, he tells us:
"I’ve never called myself a photographer. I studied painting and sculpture and see myself as an artist with a camera. I learned everything I know about art from Marcel Duchamp who taught me that anything, including a photograph, could be a work of art.