Emperor’s River: Philipp Scholz Rittermann features dramatic landscapes of China’s Grand Canal captured through the lens of celebrated San Diego-based photographer, Philipp Scholz Rittermann. In 2009, Rittermann set out to capture China’s rapidly evolving economy with a study of life along its historic Grand Canal. The ancient waterway has been a major force in China’s cultural and economic development for more than two millennia. It extends more than 1,000 miles across the eastern portion of country’s alluvial plain, from Beijing in the north to Hangzhou (near Shanghai) in the south.
Rittermann’s panoramic images portray the often jarring contrasts of history and modernity, rural terrain and burgeoning metropolises of this rapidly developing country. In one image, the horizontal expanse of Wuxi’s active fish market contrasts with the city’s scaffolded skyscrapers, under construction and, as yet, unpopulated. In other pictures, the shoreline of Weishan is defined by colossal barges which are littered with signs of individual activity. Towers, as often as trees, pierce the skyline in scenes from Dezhou, Suzhou, and Jining. These large-scale photographs describe the geographic stretch of the canal, even as they mark the human mark upon it.
Philipp Scholz Rittermann has exhibited his work internationally and is part of numerous museum collections. In 2001, he was the subject of a mid-career survey at San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Art; the exhibition was accompanied by the monograph of Rittermann’s work, Navigating by Light.
Emperor’s River: Philipp Scholz Rittermann is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and is made possible thanks to funds from MCASD’s Monte Carlo gala.
Related programs are supported by grants from The James Irvine Foundation Arts Innovation Fund, the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Institutional support for MCASD is provided, in part, by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.