(Chinese, b. 1969)
Gelatin silver print
Paper: 45.7 x 45.7 cm (18 x 18 in.); Matted: 71.1 x 66 cm (28 x 26 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 2012.105
Courtesy of the artist and Eli Klein Gallery © Liu Zheng
Xinjiang Girl Working in a Textile Factory is very close in composition and subject matter to Lewis Hine's images of girls working in cotton factories in the American South around 1900 (see 1991.294).
From 1991 to 1997, Zheng Liu worked for a newspaper, creating images that were supposedly documentary but instead presented a fictional, idealized view of life in China. The burgeoning individual prosperity and increasing openness to the West, meanwhile, was contributing to the rise of the photographer-artist in China, whose work fulfilled personal expressive needs rather than governmental ends. In 1994, Zheng took on this new role as he began The Chinese, a seven-year independent project to chronicle Chinese society. Lewis Hine's photographs had a narrower purpose: raising awareness of the evils of child labor.
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