CURATED BY NIE XIAOYI
Deng Yun's photos are private and sensational, with a rare frankness and simpleness in our era. He is more like an ordinary person with sensitive eyes, but slow and alone enough to allow the trivials in everyday life to oat up and occupy the images. Even when the images are just road views or illuminating factories at night, I still feel that I am diving into his life and dropping into silence at some meaningless moments. To me, Yun is not a "professional". He does not use "projects" to organise his work or choose a problem to research and present the answers with images. He's not even an “artist”, as he didn't take these photographs to enter the exhibition-centred system of art display. Updating art history plays no part in his ambitions. “An art lover and practitioner” is how he calls himself, and he is.
Deng Yun has a blog and then a WeChat account called Hidden Life. It seems that in Japan, he often visits forests, the seaside and snowy towns. The landscapes are often white. He rarely shoots people (but often mentions people in his poems), if they appear they are blurred or in parts. Deng Yun will leave you with a strange and pure impression of his objects. A curtain of rain on a stormy night, leaves, moths, some objects are scrutinised under artificial light, some are overexposed and over white, like a soul is rising out of body. The extreme sensational looking, of course, offers us an unusual beauty, but more importantly, Deng Yun bears these micro- subtle markers of contemporary life as anchors of the emotions of the times: daily loneliness, a silent expectation for quirkiness, and restrained sadness. I will think of Wolfgang Tillmans when looking at Yun's photos; they are both good at observing their daily lives in acute detail, weaving photography, poetry, and music together into their practice. Their expression is ultimately about what they are made up of, what they show is what they immerse themselves in, and ultimately, the depth of expression depends on their eagerness and honesty. In today's fast- paced emotional world, Deng Yun always turns to the tiny things in life, calmly spending his time in confrontation with his own life. In this sense, what touches us in Deng Yun's photos is our own lives.