How amazing are these pictures!? For those who have never been to China, you probably think this is crazy, and it actually is! In his “Manufactured Totems” series Alain Delorme, captures the portrait of the insignificant jobs present in everyday life in Shanghai. Even though the Chinese society usually fascinates by its delusions of grandeur, he chooses to focus on the individuals running/buzzing about the city.
Men and women perched on their bikes cross the images as they go all over town, without ever settling in. They are migrants coming from all over China, the heart of the new “world factory”.
These men become then heroes, whose force is increased tenfold. We believe them able of all the feats, maintaining the unpredictable balance of their bizarre burdens with dexterity.
Like the new Realists, Alain Delorme shows subtly a part of reality and offers it a usually unnoticed meaning. The ephemeral and instable piles become sculptures, real works of art. These objects, by nature reproducible and interchangeable, seem to acquire an almost sacred status. But of what these “Made in” products are the totems?
Height vertigo, echoing the unceasing expansion of the city itself. From the sidewalk to the building, the grounds are positioned at intervals and make coexist the different urban temporalities: the one of the daily life, the ephemeral, the unceasing move of the passers-by, and the one of the great transformations, building sites and new towers.
The urban space is permanently developing, relentlessly. The skyscrapers invade the city and rise always higher, such as new totems, always more remarkable, always more impressing. The race here is not only the one of the men in the city, but also the one of the city towards its future.
With a look full of humor and poetry, Alain Delorme settles us in the heart of the new “Chinese dream”. Far from a hymn to materialism, these images, putting forward the overabundance of the objects, tend to the absurd and let catch a glimpse of the complexity of a country reinventing itself. Between dream and reality, these pictures turn upside down the scales of values and blur the border between the visible and the invisible. Text by Raphaële Bertho.