In 1998, Ni Weihua began documenting official ideologies publically advertised by the Chinese government and its propaganda agencies, which resulted in his multiple-year photographic project Keywords. Creating the backdrop for urban citizens, the large banners and billboards repeat phrases such as “Chinese dream,” “harmonious society,” and “development is the most important principle.” These political advertisements reshape the conscious and subconscious of the urban passersby while eliciting common national goals.

Building on the ideas in Keyword, Ni began his Landscape Wall series in 2008, in which he focuses on big street billboards that function as walls and readymade backgrounds against which urban routine unfolds. For him, these billboards are the landscape of the city, thus the title of his work Landscape Wall. This photographic series examines the broadening effects of consumerism in Chinese cities. It also brings to light the widening inequality in the country and reveals the marginalization of the very people who help to build the city. Overall, Ni’s work introduces and deconstructs the ever-present government directed propagandas and commercial advertisements that coat the urban public spaces. Within these spaces, urbanization and modernization collide as the impetus for consumerism.

Curator: Dr. Meiqin Wang

Graphics: Alyssa Asprer and Jenny Salinas

Education and public outreach: Minyi Liang and Mei Wah Lois Morimoto

Website: Ariel Smith

Editor: Dr. Meiqin Wang

Proofreader: Ariel Smith

Designer: Alyssa Asprer