They transport their goods on bicycle or tricycle, stacked up in high towers, even on foot, but always stacked, packed, in a state of constant growth, just like the economy of their motherland China. Alain Delorme spent a considerable amount of time in Shanghai and documented this kind of transportation in his ‘Totems’ picture series.
It is not about getting something from A to B. These homemade carriers seem like the lucky charms – the totems – of a society in transition. The photographer contrasts the vertical loads of the settlers with the spiralling heights of modern buildings. The cities' steady expansion reflects in the increasing burdens of travelling workers and vice versa.
The motifs are deliberately removed from the typical crowds within the congested areas, Delorme uses a wall to separate his ‘loaded’ foreground from the urban background. The old and the new China? Both are certainly in the process of permanent development.
The pictures appear critical and yet full of humour at the same time. They offer a new perspective of the very carriers, who usually come across like small ants hauling a multiple of their own weight. The sheer mass of carried objects tends to look absurd, yet they are a symbol of a complex society on the brink of reinvention.
Alain Delorme was born in 1979 in Paris and his work has already been exhibited worldwide. In Tokyo, Tongli in China, New York and Paris. His abidance in Shanghai was supported by the Ailing Foundation, which makes art accessible to children in various ways.
Just like he did in his previous work ‘Little Dolls’, Delorme exaggerates and modifies his pictures according to his imagination.
The Magda Danysz Gallery, Paris will be showing ‘Totems’ until 25 September.
Alain Delorme – Totems
Gallery Magda Danysz
78, rue Amelot
Until 25 September 2010
Tue – Fri, 11am – 7pm
Sa, 2pm – 7pm