Taken between the early summer of 1989 through to the spring of 1990, Xu Yong’s Hutong is a classic series in contemporary Chinese photography. Hutong are neighborhoods characterized by narrow laneways lined by traditional courtyard houses. They are essential element of Beijing's identity. Many Hutong have been demolished in the wake of modernization, replaced by office towers and skyscraper apartments. Xu Yong’s direct method captures the tranquil landscape of Hutong, helping to promote greater awareness of Beijing’s vanishing cultural identity. The Hutong series has not only become an effective memoir of history, it reflects humanism during a specific historical period of collective memory in Beijing. Through the eyes of Xu Yong, we see what remains of their disappearing charm. His black and white images reveal the sadness and beauty of Hutong.
This is the first time they have been shown in Australia.