Exhibition Collotype • Recurrence – Spatial Convergence of John Thomson and Wong Ho Sang opens at the Macao Museum


The exhibition Collotype • Recurrence – Spatial Convergence of John Thomson and Wong Ho Sang, organised by the Macao Museum under the Cultural Affairs Bureau, will have its opening ceremony in the afternoon of 29 May, 6:00pm, welcoming all residents and tourists to the Macao Museum from 30 May to 31 August. This exhibition contains two sections. The first section showcases photographic works by British photographer John Thomson (1837-1921) taken in his first visit to the Far East in the 19th century. Thomson travelled throughout China from 1868 to 1872, recording the Chinese society through photography; these works have become precious reference materials for research related to the Chinese society at that time. The album Illustrations of China and Its People displayed in the exhibition, published in London (1873-1874) using the collotype printing technique comprises more than 200 wet plate photographs taken in Macao, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shantou, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Taiwan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Nanjing, Sichuan, Tianjin, Beijing and other places. Since traditional printing techniques then failed to render the optimum quality of the original photographs, Thomson decided to employ the collotype, the most advanced and innovative printing process at the time which produced images of very high resolution; he personally supervised the production process of the collection. The 'collotype' is categorised as lithography, and is one of the earlier photo-lithograph examples. In general, the collotype plate is made by using a plate of thick frosted glass as a base, and coating it with photosensitive film made of gelatine and a dichromate solution, and then expose it in contact with the film negative. Thus it is also known as 'glass plate printing'. In order to provide visitors with a more specific understanding of the photographic method of Thomson, the second section presents works obtained via wet plate processing by contemporary Macao photographer Wong Ho Sang, especially for the exhibition. In this photographic art works themed on Macao, which include figures, landscapes, buildings and still-life, the artist integrated the ancient and the modern, the new with the old, through the combination of early photographic skills and contemporary creative concepts. In addition to the wet-plate photography works, the equipment the photographer used for shooting is also displayed, including three wooden large format wet-plate cameras from the 1890s, 1960s and 2013, respectively. Furthermore, in order for visitors to learn more about the photographic techniques and works at the time of John Thomson, the Macao Museum will host a lecture on the topic on 31 May 2014 at 3:00pm, at the Museum Auditorium. Renowned English scholar, photographer and designer Michael Gray will deliver the lecture themed 'Beyond the Glass Negative - John Thomson & Photography in China'. The lecture will introduce the history before and after the invention of photography and the contribution of England and France to this art; also, it will probe the photographic concept of John Thomson through his documents and manuscripts, and introduce the collotype printing technology he adopted. The lecture will be conducted in English with simultaneous interpretation in Cantonese. To reserve seats, please call Ms. Leong at 8394 1218. The Macao Museum opens daily from 10:00am to 6:00pm (ticket booth closes at 5:30pm). Please be informed, however, that the Museum will stop selling tickets at 4:00pm on 29th May in order to prepare for the opening ceremony of this temporary exhibition. For information about the above exhibition and other relevant activities, please call: (853) 2835 7911 during office hours or visit: www.macaumuseum.gov.mo or www.icm.gov.mo.

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