Robert van der Hilst
Robert van der Hilst is Dutch and does not speak Mandarin. And yet his images of Chinese interiors hit the right note. His preface writer, Yu Hua, author of the novel Brothers and the leader of new literature, is convinced of this. Since 2004, van der Hilst spends half of his time in China. He wanders through its cities and far away regions in search of the inhabitants to photograph what the spinning economic growth destroys faster than elsewhere: the living habitats. Decorators’ lofts in Shanghai, traditional apartments with plastic showers or miserable cabins in Sichuan: the country’s diversity matches that of its inordinate population. Mao’s old chromos, tin kettles and dirt floors are side by side with Italian design, and flat T.V. screens. This book is a sociologic stroll and can also be read as a beautiful gallery of portraits and still lives.
Review published in the newsletter #202 - from 3 February 2011 to 9 February 2011