Extended! Retrieved回: The Art of Looking Back, Now Through August 13, 2016

Retrieved回 – The Art of Looking Back

West Coast premiere of 3 artists, a dual-sited exhibition narrative of China in the last century

Co-curated by the Chinese Culture Center and SF Camerawork

Artists: Kurt Tong, Daniel Traub, Thomas Sauvin

Exhibition Dates: February 20 to August 13, 2016

VIP Reception: Friday, February 19, 6-8:00PM

  At the CCC Visual Art Center and SF Camerawork

Facebook Event Page


Retrieved回 is a photography exhibition at two sites, a unique collaboration and partnership between the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco (CCC) and SF Camerawork. The Chinese character in the title“回” (hui) means return, turn around, revolve.  Both exhibition sites will provide complementary narratives of a multitude of stories, as told by 3 artists, capturing personal, human, and living portraits of China in the last century. The exhibition portrays the cosmopolitan and shifting parameters of the Chinese experience as a global trend of cultural expansion and universality, one in which viewers are certain to find glimpses if not revelations of their own lives and histories.

The stories told in this exhibition, while unavoidably steeped in the tumultuous history of China in the last century, remain touchingly and intelligibly humble, personal, prosaic to the point of repetitive, and most of all, entirely human. It is impossible not to recover glimpses of our own lives in these photographs: The shy, embarrassed smiles of twin sisters standing before their parents’ eager camera lens, striking mirrored poses that echo the newly constructed buildings in the background; the proud stance of a businessman, one foot on the curb, the other firmly planted on the ground, ready to make his fortune in a foreign land; the home movie that captures the mood of a bygone era, but whose brevity raises more questions than it answers.

The title of the exhibition, referring to the retrieval process shared by the three constructed archives, describes the intentionally artistic gesture of retrieving found photographs in a context far beyond the simple action of accumulation. Though these projects have been exhibited either internationally or nationally, this will be the first presentation of the work to a San Francisco audience, and as a collective, dynamic panoramic of China in the last century.

Exhibition Dates:

Reception: Friday, February 19, 6-8:00PM

At the CCC Visual Art Center and SF Camerawork

RSVP with maria@c-c-c.org or call 415-986-1822

Complimentary shuttle between the two locations provided for the opening. Please check for times.

CCC Visual Art Center, 750 Kearny St. 3rd Floor

February 20 to May 14, 2016 at the CCC Visual Art Center

Tuesday–Saturday, 10 a.m – 4 p.m.; closed Sun. & Mon.

SF Camerawork, 1011 Market Street, 2nd Floor

February 20 to April 16, 2016 at SF Camerawork

Tuesday — Friday, Noon to 6:00 pm; Saturday, Noon to 5:00 PM; and by appointment

Retrieved回 is co-curated by Abby Chen of the Chinese Culture Center and Heather Snider of SF Camerawork. Major funding for the project provided by the WYNG Foundation, with additional support from Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, San Francisco Foundation, Grant for the Arts.

Read the Full Press Release Here.

Auxiliary Programs

Artists’ Talk: Culture and Society
Featuring artists Kurt Tong and Daniel Traub
February 22, 6-7:30pm
Location: Chinese Culture Center, 750 Kearny St., 3/F
Co-hosted with Asia Society Northern California
To Register, please click here.

Artists’ Talk & Book Signing on the Art of Photography
February 23, 2016Tuesday6pm-8pm
Organized by SF Camerawork
Location: SF Camerawork, 1011 Market St. SF
Free Admission
For more information on the Artists’ Talks please click here.

About the Artists

Kurt Tong – Born in Hong Kong in 1977, Kurt Tong was originally trained as a health visitor at the University of Liverpool. He has worked and traveled extensively across Europe, the Americas and Asia. He gained his Masters in documentary photography at the London College of Communications in 2006 and began working on much more personal projects. “In Case it Rains in Heaven’ exploring the practice of Chinese funeral offerings, has been widely exhibited including a solo exhibition at Compton Verney and features in several public collections. A monograph of the work was published by Kehrer Verlag in 2011.

Much of Kurt’s recent work, while remaining photographic in essence, has moved towards installation and sculptural based, pushing the boundaries of the medium. Echoed Visions, a  series of installation question the medium of photography, made its debut at the Identity Art Gallery, Hong Kong in February 2014.


Daniel Traub (b. 1971) is a New York-based photographer and filmmaker, originally from Philadelphia. Traub lived in China from 1998 to 2007, working as a cinematographer on documentary films. 

His photographs have been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago, Slought in Philadelphia and the Lianzhou photo festival in China. His work can be found in public and private collections, such as the Margulies Collection at the WAREhOUSE and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His work has also appeared in publications including Aperture, European Photography and The New York Times Magazine. Traub has published two monographs with Kehrer Verlag: North Philadelphia and Little North Road.


Thomas Sauvin is a French photography collector and editor who lives in Beijing. Since 2006 he has worked as a consultant for the UK-based Archive of Modern Conflict (AMC) for whom he collects Chinese work, from contemporary art photography to period publications and anonymous photography. 

Sauvin’s project ‘Beijing Silvermine’, an archive of half a million negatives salvaged over the years from a recycling plant on the edge of Beijing, has been presented by Singapore International Photo Festival (2012); FORMAT Photo Festival, Derby, UK (2013); The Salt Yard, Hong Kong (2013); and Lianzhou Foto Festival (2013), China’s premier international photography festival, where it received New Photography Award of the Year.


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