Winter 2005–2006

Artist Project / Untitled

The future, frayed

Ester Partegàs

These photographs by Ester Partegàs were taken during June and July 2005 in Beijing, Shanghai, and Xiamen. China, undergoing a hurried and awkward transition to capitalism, has turned its cities into the world’s largest construction sites. The unprecedented building program is promoted by ubiquitous banners whose message of Progress is unalloyed by any sense of hesitation or doubt. As would happen in any metropolis, these advertisements quickly show the signs of wear and tear. Amid the optimistic scaffolds and cranes of today’s China, however, these posters also presage a high-rise future so hyper-accelerated that it has begun to fray even before it has come to pass.

Ester Partegàs is an artist based in Brooklyn, New York. As a recent recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, she spent the summer of 2005 traveling in China and documenting the country’s accelerated rate of change.

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