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STATE OF THE ART

Xing Dawen's Chinese Fantasy

by Andrew Maerkle

XING DANWENUrban Fiction image 13 from the "Urban Fiction" series, 2004-05, C-print photograph, 221.7 x 170 cm. Courtesy SCALO, Kiang Gallery.

Few nations have witnessed radical transformation as has China in recent decades. Urban China under Chairman Mao, particularly the capital Beijing, was already a jarring blend of structures alternately quartered by broad, monumental avenues into winding hutong backstreets— vestiges of imperial urban planning— and utilitarian work communes— drab, low-rise blocks dedicated to idealized, if not always productive, industry. For many…

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