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First Thursdays


Photography exhibition by Harry Paticas – September 2015

Issued 27.08.15

This exhibition of photographs taken in Beijing, China highlights divergent Chinese attitudes towards landscape and nature. The viewer is invited to engage with the ephemerality of modern day consumer waste and timeless markings on ancient trees. The photographs were taken in 2015 at a time of excessive pollution and the promise of radical environmental reform. Having passed peak coal production in 2014, China is experiencing major public health issues at the same time as instigating an unprecedented growth in renewable energy.

The first catalogue of photographs present discarded consumer products recorded on a single short walk from a car park through a beautiful wooded landscape to a remote section of the Great Wall of China (Jian Kou) to the north of Beijing. The detritus consists of cigarette packs, snack food wrappers and drinks bottles with bright colours, evocative graphics and Chinese characters.

The second catalogue of photographs was taken in the courtyards of the Temple of Confucius in Beijing (Beijing Kong Miao), home to 700 year old ancient Cypress trees. With the context edited out of the photographs, the surfaces become abstracted micro-landscapes, witnesses to three dynasties and the upheavals of 20th century Chinese politics. The naturally aged, gnarly and tortuous appearance of the trees may have been deliberately encouraged by traditional Chinese gardeners to emphasize longevity and character.

The photographs were taken by Harry Paticas, a Bethnal Green based architect, university lecturer and designer of the Bethnal Green Memorial. Harry is a co-director of Arboreal Architecture, based at St. Margaret’s House, and is passionate about designing buildings that are sensitive to and integrated into the landscape.

Arboreal Architecture specialises in timber construction and has expertise in eco-retrofitting existing buildings, having recently completed a number of holistic thermal upgrades of historic buildings. Arboreal Architecture is a RIBA Chartered Practice committed to integrating rich architectural experience with high performance fabric and services.

Earlier Event: August 29
Mouths Wide Shut
Later Event: September 5
Jazz + Japan