Jing Jin City and Miracle Village

25 November 2014

Exhibitions

Jing Jin City and Miracle Village, an exhibition at the Daniel Blau gallery (Hoxton, London) from January 16 - February 13, 2015, brings together two photographic projects about communities and social spaces by contemporary artists Andi Schmied and Sofia Valiente. The artists each spent time living in the places they photographed.

Andi Schmied’s Jing Jin City comprises photographs of Jing Jin, which is situated about an hour’s drive from Beijing. The city is home to a development of 3,000 luxury villas and the other facilities you would expect in a wealthy suburban town such as golf courses and entertainment complexes. The villas form part of an initiative by the local district government, which envisioned Jing Jin as a “new city” built to embody ideals of environmental sustainability as well as material comfort.

Construction began in 2002, but the majority of the properties remain uninhabited. Andi occupied a number of these empty buildings in January and September 2014. She created sculptural and architectural installations in the spaces, which she then photographed. In one photograph, window panes are balanced against each other in pyramid-like structures around a bare concrete room. In another, Andi took cut grass from the front lawn of one of the houses and brought it into the living room, carpeting the cold floor with bristly yellow-green foliage.

The exhibition will feature a selection of Andi’s photographs alongside a catalogue produced by the district government, which portrays lavishly furnished family homes and thriving community.

Sofia Valiente’s Miracle Village focuses on the small community of Miracle Village located on the outskirts of a rural town in an impoverished area of Palm Beach County, Florida. It is currently home to over 100 hundred sex offenders, who for legislative reasons have been unable to find housing elsewhere. The law obliges offenders to live a minimum distance of at least 1,000 feet from any place where children congregate, such as schools or bus stops. In practice, this is very difficult to comply with, and many of these individuals struggle to find a place to live and to re-establish themselves in society. The village was founded by a Christian ministry and seeks to help offenders who have nowhere else to go.

The range of crimes committed varies - from serious offenses to consensual teenage relationships with an age gap. The men are mixed in age, from various ethnic backgrounds, and they are all coming to terms with living with the permanence of the “sex offender” label.

Over the course of a year, Sofia Valiente befriended, lived among and photographed the residents of Miracle Village who have shared their stories of estrangement, solitude and rehabilitation with her. Her work gives insight into what life is like in a community of deeply alienated individuals. A book of Sofia’s

Miracle Village photographs was published in 2014. This publication also includes handwritten letters and testimony from village inhabitants, which provides vital context for the photographs.

 

Daniel Blau
51 Hoxton Square
London
N1 6PB

Tel +44 (0)207 831 7998

www.danielblau.com
Image © FAN Hui-Ling, Joanie, ARPS


Image © FAN Hui-Ling, Joanie, ARPS
Image © FAN Hui-Ling, Joanie, ARPS
Image: Mike by Sofia Valiente © Sofia Valiente, Courtesy Daniel Blau.