Edition 2024




1 July - 29 September 2024

09.00 AM - 07.30 PM


Facing the unbearable fractures of modernity, Lahem has been exploring his dynamic position between the Chinese metropolis where he resides and Sibei, his hometown village nestled in the southern mountains of Jiangxi province.
Hometown has been Lahem’s central creative theme for 15 years. Since 2007, Lahem has navigated a nomadic state between Sibei and the city, using Sibei Village as a backdrop to explore dimensions like land, identity, migration, and transformation. Sequentially, he crafted works such as Lost, Return to Hometown, and the Luo Fuping series, completing a Hometown Trilogy in his creative pursuits. To Lahem, Sibei is akin to India for V. S. Naipaul, “India as an ache, for which one has a great tenderness, but from which at length one always wishes to separate oneself.”

Lahem’s latest work, Sibei, liberates him from the intricate duality of individual and hometown in the Hometown Trilogy. poem, this series of lenticular prints set a constant back-and-forth movement from the site of the disaster to the shelter homes, rehabilitation colonies, and other inhabited temporary and migratory spaces, and prompts the viewers also to move back and forth to see the image with clarity. The work reduces the overwhelming climate migration stories (events) and turns them into an experience by bringing the before and after-image of a particular disaster on the same surface. It places him within a shared destiny with land, mountains, and villagers, collectively confronting nature’s laws.

In crafting these images, Lahem erected a bridge connecting Sibei to a metaphysical existence. This exploration and reconstruction led the inevitably fading Sibei as an object to revert to its enduring essence within Sibei itself. His creation serves as homage to Sibei and, by extension, to numerous other hometowns undergoing irreversible disappearance, akin to Sibei. Thus, Sibei transcends the melancholic narratives of modern history. It no longer solely represents a geographical hometown specific to Lahem but has evolved into an eternal land that has existed for thousands of years beneath the veneer of modern civilization in China—a land that resonates more closely with traditional ways of life and belongs to every individual in a more universal sense.

Joanna Fu

Curator: Joanna Fu.

  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture