China Driftings - © Catherine GFELLER
游走中国 - 城市系列
by Catherine Gfeller
Women and Chinese Megalopolis

My focus is on the intersection between Chinese women and the mega-cities in which they live. My approach is composed of three steps:



For this project, the first step will be to film and photograph women in Hong Kong, Chengdu, Shanghai and Beijing. I will meet, in each city, with around ten women covering various professional horizons to talk with them in depth before taking photos and filming them. How do Chinese women from different backgrounds and generations perceive these new ways of life and find an anchor in the mega-city? I have observed, for both men and women, that nearly all the Chinese living in cities come from rural areas. Their parents still live in villages that are sometimes very isolated, remote.

In consequence I also want to take photos and film in the provinces of Yunnan where traditional ways of living and untouched nature can be experienced. The enormous gap between life in a mega-city and life in the country will nourish my project in an expressive, contrasting and enigmatic manner.

I will set the scene for the women I have selected in both urban and natural landscapes. I will take photos of them, film them, and record what they’ll have said during our interchanges in movement.

Embracing the tremendous change that China is experiencing through the eyes of women responds to a three-fold objective, which is to:

- Echo the Silk Road in regard to its cultural aspect

- Reveal the role of women in China - Invent new forms of artistic exchanges between

  Europe and China.


Once back in my studio, I will sort the material collected and commence the long process of composition to create works of art that intertwine large photographic friezes, video sequences, sound recordings and narratives. The Chinese women’s stories will be interpreted in a poetic, sensory manner in a play of fixed images and images in movement, urban noise, natural sounds, voices, and the intermingling of words and silences.

My goal is not to do documentary reporting, but rather to be inspired by the reality observed in order to reinterpret it in an artistic vision that is reconstructed, sometimes transformed into fiction.



The last stage will be dedicated to the scenography conception of the exhibition in dialogue with the museum’s curator.The exhibition will be like a journey: Multimedia pieces will be installed on the walls, on the floor, on the ceiling like a real immersion, where the city is entirely reinvented. Visitors will be able to wander through the different spaces of the museum as if they were plunged in the pulsating world of the megalopolis. Their senses will be called into play in a fluid, imaginary, dream-like manner.

In the very last room, visitors will find themselves surrounded by vast evocative landscapes where their thoughts, sensations and visions will find their place of expression. Nature and city will resonate in confrontation – always through the eyes of women.