Sze Tsung Leong, Jiangsheng Cun, Shanxi Province, 2004

Sze Tsung Leong, American and British, born Mexico City, 1970: Jiangsheng Cun, Shanxi Province, 2004. Chromogenic print, 101.6 x 121.9 cm. Gift of David Solo (2010-222). © Sze Tsung Leong / image courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

Yaodong are residential complexes that are carved into the vertical walls of gullies in the fine yellow silt of the Loess Plateau in China’s Shanxi Province. A centuries-old form of dwelling, they remain home to millions of Chinese. As a building type, yaodong are inseparable from the soil that hosts them, yet highly ephemeral: flash floods and earthquakes can erase them without a trace, and the outlines of the plateau are constantly shifting. In this work from his History Images series, Sze Tsung Leong portrays stone-fronted yaodong in a canyon below a Qing dynasty residential compound being rebuilt for the tourist trade.

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