Self-Portraits

a selection
New York, New York, 1979
"I always set up my photos by composing perfectly the situation in advance: after that, I can get in front of the camera knowing the rest of the picture is what I want it to be; it leaves me the freedom to do what I wish within that frame, take chances."
- Tseng Kwong Chi
Hollywood Hills, California, 1979
Lake Moraine, Northwest Territories, Canada, 1986
Paris, France, 1983
"Tourists often go for what they’ve seen in films or in photographs. Monuments appeal especially to them because they represent past or present glories and power."
- Tseng Kwong Chi
New York, New York, 1979
Provincetown, Massachusetts, 1979
"In 1979 I went to Provincetown, and I ran into a funny beach house; I happened to have my Chinese costume with me and that is how I did my first self-portrait. Then, I took a trip around the USA, being interested in finding out what Americans worship in their country. I followed the trail of the typical places they love to visit." - Tseng Kwong Chi
Grand Canyon, Arizona, 1987
London, England, 1983
Lighthouse, Holland, 1986
San Francisco, California, 1979
New York, New York, 1979
"His imagery was always the curious, blank Chinese tourist. I would say to Kwong that you don't fool me, I know, I can sense protest when I see it… this blankness was the way in which this culture at large expected him, as an Asian man, to exist. So he became a kind of a cipher, a smooth surface that because it was so impenetrable, this persona, it reflected everything!"
- Bill T. Jones
Lake Ninevah, Vermont, 1985
Kamakura, Japan, 1988
Rome, Italy, 1989
"My photographs are social studies and social comments on Western society and its relationship with the East. [I pose] as a Chinese tourist in front of monuments of Europe, America and elsewhere."
- Tseng Kwong Chi
Pisa, Italy, 1989
Bordeaux, France, 1985
Black Hills, Arizona, 1987
Los Angeles, California, 1979
"I heighten the irony of the icons and symbols of Western popular culture… all of which are worshipped, exploited and exported through the media of television, Hollywood movies and Madison Avenue magazines." - Tseng Kwong Chi
Washington, D.C., 1982
New York, New York, 1979
"I find especially fascinating, but also alienating in many ways, the futuristic quality of [the American] environment, like these new cities — Miami, Dallas or Las Vegas — while holding on to very conventional and traditional social values." - Tseng Kwong Chi
Brasilia, Brasil, 1984
New York, New York, 1979
Victoria Peak, Alberta, Canada, 1986
"[Tseng’s work is like] a cross between Ansel Adams and Cindy Sherman."
- Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
"During the 1980s Kwong Chi produced a wry and curiously moving body of part-performance, part-photographic works… These deadpan self-portraits comment on tourism and otherness. Kwong Chi died of AIDS in 1990; it is sad to think of what this witty artist might have done."
- Ken Johnson, The New York Times
Silver Gelatin Prints | 36 x 36 inches / 91.4 x 91.4 cm | Edition of 9