The Light of Measured Days: In the Garden of Perfect Brightness

Photos © Hu Min


胡敏 | Hu Min, photo © 王岸 | Ian Wang

Hu Min, born 1964 in Jinan, Shandong Province, China, came to Beijing in 1993, where she lived and worked as a photographer and artist in the Yuanmingyuan art community, on the grounds of the Old Summer Palace. Her early works include serial efforts such as ”Ruins” (1993); “Yuanmingyuan Artists’ Village ” (1993—1995); “Female” (1995—1999); “Children”(2000—2001); “Couples” (2002); “Disguises” (2002); and “Petitioners” (2003). Aside from still photography, she has also collaborated on documentary films.

In China, Hu Min’s photography has been featured in many exhibitions, including the 2002 Pingyao International Photography Show; the 2003 Beijing Contemporary Art Exhibit “Overflow”; the 2002 Beijing Shifang Art Center one-woman show, “Children”; and the 2006 Beijing World Art Museum’s “Body Temperature: Invoking the Legacy of Hans Christian Andersen through Chinese Contemporary Art”. Some of the images from this Pangolin House issue appeared the same year in “Drifting Archive: Yuanmingyuan Artists’ Village” at Beijing’s Today Art Museum. More recently, her work was included in the invitational Shangyuan Women’s Art Exhibition in Beijing.

Abroad, her work appeared in the 2004 Kunstmuseum Bonn and University of Bonn’s international seminar “Eastern and Western Aesthetics: Art and Identity”, followed by an exhibition in Bern, Switzerland, and another in Ghent, Belgium. Her solo show, “Children of the Field”, was mounted in 2007 at Colgate University in New York. In 2011, she was invited by the Goethe-Institut to create a documentary album of contemporary Chinese artists, Zeitgenössische Künstler aus China.

Hu Min’s photos have been published domestically and internationally in numerous magazines, photographic and literary anthologies, as well as fashion and art journals, and are held in various private or institutional collections. She lives and works in Bejing.




胡敏作品在國內外多種攝影、文學、時尚、藝術雜誌及出版物上發表,並被多家美術館、藝術機構及個人收藏。2011年,接受德國藝術學院和歌德學院委約,拍攝中國藝術家文獻集《Zeitgenössische Künstler aus China》。



In the late 1980s, a corner of the Yuanmingyuan Gardens in north Beijing attracted several young Chinese artists seeking respite from the central city’s higher costs and bustling commercialism. Renting simple village houses, they found quiet, affordable space, and lived in their studios. Over the next few years, other artists, writers, and musicians arrived, creating what became known as the Yuanmingyuan Artists’ Village, a vibrant hub of intense creativity. By 1993, however, the site had become so popular with visitors, the media, and gallery owners that its original attractions were fast disappearing. It also drew greater attention from authorities who regarded its proximity to Peking University’s large campus, immediately to the south, as potentially troublesome. In 1995, police intrusions became more frequent, often late at night, when this or that artist was ordered to leave. By the end of the year, few were left, many having moved to Songzhuang, an art community forming in the Tongzhou district east of Beijing, while others went elsewhere. In its brief life, idyllic though impecunious, Yuanmingyuan Artists’ Village served as a rich seedbed for the new Chinese art that followed. These photos, taken by Hu Min during her Yuanmingyuan residence, commemorate the era.



back to Winter 2016-17