TPG Golden Editions: Nadav Kander

Nadav Kander Yibin VIII, (Bathers), Sichuan Province, 2007  Series: Yangtze – The Long River

TPG Golden Editions: Nadav Kander

The eighth release in TPG’s 50th Anniversary ‘Golden Editions’ series is this poignant image by London-based photographer, Nadav Kander (b. Tel Aviv, Israel 1961).

Kander moved to Johannesburg, South Africa when he was three, and began photographing at an early age. He later moved to London in 1985, where he still lives and works. Known for his personal and intuitive modes of image-making, Kander is one of the most influential artists working today.

TPG Golden Editions #8: Nadav Kander

Nadav Kander, Yibin VIII, (Bathers), Sichuan Province, 2007
Archival pigment print From Yangtze – The Long River
Signed and numbered verso
60 x 73 cm
Edition of 30 plus 2 artist's proofs

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Nadav Kander has written a touching tribute to The Photographers’ Gallery, which will be presented on the reverse of each edition:

“When I met you, you were 11 and I was 21 years old. I had recently arrived from South Africa knowing not a soul in London. I came because I was following my calling to be a photographer The books I bought I still have today. I learned from your carefully curated exhibitions. You really were central to me and my early years in London. So it’s with pride and great pleasure that I’m able, 39 years later, to partake in this celebration commemorating your 50 years of service to photography.”

- An excerpt from Nadav Kander’s letter, 2021

His photographs emphasise the importance of contemplation, inviting the viewer to pause and pay attention to the fundamental issues of today – from globalisation, industrial decline and environmental destruction, to the inevitable vulnerability of the human body, alluding to the quiet and emotive aspects of human experience and the plurality of truths beneath the surface.

Yibin VIII (Bathers), is an image taken from Kander’s renowned series, Yangtze – The Long River, 2006 – 2007. In a series awarded the Prix Pictet in 2009, Kander made five trips to China to photograph the landscape and people along the banks of the Yangtze River. Kander’s photographs, taken from the mouth of the river to the source, showed the rapid and profound changes underway in China, offering a poignant reflection on the effects of globalization.

Known as the main artery of China, the Yangtze River flows over 4,100 miles, traversing some of the most heavily populated areas on the planet. Witnessing the effects of the displacement of 1.7 million people in a 380-mile stretch of the river, Kander’s photographs explore themes of impermanence, place, and migration, ultimately questioning the price of modernisation. The series shows human figures dwarfed by the half-completed, western-style structures that are rapidly replacing traditional Chinese low-rise buildings and houseboats.

Kander recognises influences of John Martin’s and J. M. W. Turner’s paintings in this series, where the smallness of the individual is shown, pitted against the huge ideas and might of the state. The casual stance of the figures in this image is juxtaposed against the weighty sense of humidity and pollution in the air, which Kander illustrates in muted tones. As a testament to a moment of rapid flux, in which development was severing all connections to the past, Kander has said, “These are photographs that can never be taken again.”

Kander’s work is housed in several public collections including the National Portrait Gallery, London, UK; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, USA; Marta Herford Museum, Germany; Sheldon Museum, Lincoln, USA; The Frank-Suss Collection, London, New York and Hong Kong; and Statoil Collection, Norway. He has exhibited internationally at venues including Weserburg Museum, Germany; Musée de L’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, USA; Museum of Applied Arts, Cologne, Germany; the Barbican Centre, London, UK; The Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK; Somerset House, London, UK; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France; And Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel. In 2019, Kander was invited by the Commissione Roma to be Artist in Residence in Rome culminating in an exhibition at the Palazzo Delle Esposizioni in 2020; and has taken part in the Estuary 2021 arts festival with a site-specific photographic installation in South Essex, UK. Recent fellowships and awards include an Honorary Fellowship Award from the Royal Photographic society.