To Leon Qu, “Glass” is an experiment with materials and image making. The concept is to explore the meanings of art, stripping away ideas such as culture, politics, ideology and etc. As a result, art and the act of art making are returned to a pure white box.

Leon Qu is a photo-based artist. He graduated from the Visual Arts Department of University of Victoria, Canada, 2006. Qu has worked in the media and the educational sectors in China. Since 2010, he has set up his photo studio and begins to work in the creation, promotion and education of contemporary art. He is the author of two books -- an artist’s monograph and an essay collection of his oversea study experience. Qu is also the managing editor and producer of “Frontline: Interviews with International Contemporary Photo-based Artists.”

Glass is recently selected by “Monsters & Madonnas” the Library Blog of International Center of Photography (ICP) of New York City as one of their 10 favourite photo book of 2012.  (

88Books currently has a set of 6 photographs by Leon Qu (edition of 5, 11 x 14 inches each) available for sale. For inquiries, please contact 88books @

Statement by Leon Qu:

I am interested in the materials and the approach in constructing an image.  My work is the result of a series of decisions.  Glass as a medium does not consist much information. It is easy to integrate into the environment.  And it changes with the surroundings and the lighting, without any transformation of its own.  Using hands as a support is a decision because of convenience and mobility.  At the same time it becomes a kind of performance, with the intention of manipulation.  The meanings of the picture are enriched through a human action as supposed to the use of ordinary support fixtures.


Photography is an act of spontaneity and narrative making, as seen in snapshots and documentary photography.  Anybody can press the shutter – which is what I want to avoid. On the other hand, photography is objective.  It is a way of collecting information.  When looking at a complex and textured image, one could always see things that are often unnoticeable otherwise.


A photograph is a static image.  In a world where everything is constantly changing, what we are seeing is constantly changing too.  When a camera captures a still image it freezes everything and isolates it from time and space.  The photographic image is therefore an abstraction.  It is like looking at a distorted mirror where the viewer, with his/her own memory, emotion and imagination, connects the image with his/her own experience.  In fact, he/she does not see more than what is already on the photograph.


I often wonder what is subjective and what is objective within an image, and how the subjective and objective relate with one another.


To me, art must have its own realm of existence.  It is neither sensual nor conceptual.  Art reflects a very unique and the most fundamental essence of mankind – it is about the spiritual.




曲扬毅  摄影艺术工作者。2006年毕业于加拿大维多利亚大学视觉艺术系。曾认职国内媒体及院校,2010年成立摄影艺术工作室,致力摄影艺术的创作及推广。著有《曲扬毅摄影作品》及留学散文集《大洋彼岸》,同时也是《前线—当代国际摄影艺术家访谈》的策划编辑。现居北京。

Individual copies of GLASS are sold out. Limited quantity of the 10-book set is still available.../10/25_The_First_Ten_yi_shi.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0