s he has in the past, Hunan-born photographer Jiang Pengyi, 37, experimented with light sources in this assured show. The title of the exhibition, “Dark Addiction / The Suspended Moment / Intimacy,” referred to its three constituent series, all of which were shot over the past two years.
“Intimacy” shares a methodology with “Everything Illuminates,” an earlier series of interiors lit by extinguished candles made of fluorescent wax. Here, however, it is rectangles of fluorescent paper that Jiang is capturing on film, and the resulting compositions—reminiscent of paintings by Mark Rothko and Josef Albers—are entirely abstract.
To make the images in “Intimacy,” Jiang trapped light inside fluorescent material. In “Dark Addiction,” he traps the light source more literally, documenting the flashing of fireflies held captive inside a camera obscura. As in “Intimacy,” the works are abstract, although their dots, clouds, and snakes of light evoke views of nebulae, swarming pond life, or firing synapses.
For the pictures in “The Suspended Moment,” Jiang visited a reservoir in winter, looking for subject matter already imprisoned: the vortices and bubbles of air captured and held in place when water turns to ice. The series is a photographer’s homage to nature’s artistry, whereby freezing water stops time in the same way a shutter does.
A version of this story originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of ARTnews on page 127 under the title “Delivering More than Fast Cars.”