2017
Pan & The Dream - The Emperor's New Clothes
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Los Angeles Review of Books Interview by Michael Kurcfeld
Film
2016
Professional Photography, Text by Kathrine Anker
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American SuburbX, Text by Brad Feuerhelm
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2015
Christies: Artist Nadav Kander Studio Visit
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Dust Artist Interview, Flowers Gallery , London
Film
2014
The Strait Times, Text by Deepika Shetty
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Dust Interview, Studio International
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Dust Review - haunting and painterly. Text by Sean O'Hagan
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2013
The Guardian, Text by Jonathan Jones
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2012
Nadav Kander Interviewed by William Avedon
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Road to 2012: Aiming High, National Portrait Gallery, London
Film
2011
The Observer Magazine, Text by Sandy Nairne
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A Conversation with Nadav Kander by Jorg Colberg
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2010
The Guardian, Text by Sean O'Hagan
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Color Magazine, Text by Helmut Werb
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Portfolio Magazine, Text by Simon Baker
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Yangtze, The Long River Interview by Lens Culture
Film
2009
Hot Shoe, Interview by Bill Kouwenhoven
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Prix Pictet Announcement
Film
Nadav Kander in collaboration with the Royal College of Art
Film
2008
The Financial Times, Text by Francis Hodgson
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2007
Miedzy Nami Magazine, Interview By Jakub Mielnik
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The Financial Times, Text by Francis Hodgson

Nadav Kander has, arguably, been too good for his own good. Just about the most successful commercial photographer of his generation, he has such extraordinary facility that he can switch style and manner with disconcerting ease. A boon to art directors (Kander will have saved innumerable half-baked commercial briefs by the elegant perfection of his execution), this has meant that nobody quite knows what “a Kander” looks like.

It has been known for some time that Kander was anxious to make the step into the art world. Like any number of successful commercial photographers, there have been a number of personal projects of more or less interest. There was talk of a big book. I remember, in particular, a terrific group of black and white studies of football as it is played all over the developing world, with rough grounds and little equipment, which seemed to me a complex view of the way football acts as a psychological prop for those who have few others. But now, in a magnificent exhibition at the Flowers Editions gallery in London, Kander has simply kicked down the door. His extended essay on the Yangtze River is a compelling demonstration of photography put to its maximum use; art people will sit up and take notice of this one.

The Yangtze is the heart of China. To journey up its whole mighty course is not a particularly startling idea. But Kander has come back with a series of pictures remarkable not only for a very interesting view of China but amazing as photographs, too.

Size, of course, is the first thing that Kander has shoved at us. A man washes his motorbike deep in the Yangtze under the shadow of a bridge so enormous that the water-level scale on the pier nearby seems absurd. Seen from low down, any flood that reached those levels would be the end of the world. These vast bridges caught Kander’s eye all the way, and he saw them either from underneath or as shadowy (vaguely improbable) structures in the far distance. Their sheer concrete mass is the counter to the muddy turbulence of the water and the thick polluted soupiness of the sky. Tiny people fish below them, or swim, or picnic.

There is human activity all over Kander’s China but it’s always in the shadow of giant structures. The bridges become symbols of the new China, more an economic statement than an architectural one. In “Chongqing XI”, Kander stands with the fishermen under a huge bridge that has not yet met in the middle, reminiscent of the famous views of the Forth Bridge under construction in the UK or New York’s great bridges. From this mighty not-yet arch dangle strings (probably, in fact, huge steel cables) and from them in turn dangle other strings. Their purpose is not clear (at least to me) but there is something beautiful about their ponderous attempts to flutter in the stagnant air above the turbid stream. Did Kander see a gallows? A vast child’s swing? Another bridge, further upstream, in a frozen desert, has simply collapsed into a blood- red river.

For his photographic language, Kander has found a palette in which muted tones are enlivened by the smallest bright touches (often of clothing, as though people strive to make their own colours sing in a country otherwise drab). His vision owes a great deal to recent American landscape photography, and I see in particular a big debt to the “Desert Cantos” of Richard Misrach, one of the great series of photographs. The colours are similar, and so is the notion that air itself has a thickness and a density that viewers actually need to see before they can see through it. Above all, the political tone of Kander’s journey seems very close to the tone of the “Desert Cantos”. Misrach is a politically engaged photographer who found in man’s encroachment on the desert evidence of disconnection from and disrespect for the land. Kander has found something similar. His China is a land in which vast changes have been pushed through irrespective of the consequences, and it looks as though Kander found himself drawn almost willy-nilly into a political and specifically environmental awareness the more he saw. Where so many photographers strive at the moment for a spurious neutrality, Kander seems actively to have been drawn to judgment. When Kander photographs another building site over an artificial lake of shriekingly unlikely blueness, he finds a position over a massive fake palm tree that has fallen into the blue lagoon before the complex is even open. Nothing neutral about that.

Kander has left all over his pictures (in the digital age to leave things in is as much a choice as to leave them out) the telegraph and power lines he found everywhere. As the little people get on with their lives in the shadow of the giant structures, Kander shows the communication revolution passing them by in cables hundreds of feet above their heads.

A cluster of tower-blocks are being built. Kander views them – at least nine huge towers in a frightening parody of Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse in Marseille – from steeply underneath a bank of bright red earth. The towers have green protective sheeting and orange cranes. A solitary figure (obviously posed in the manner of 19th-century photographers, whose exposures were so long they had whistles to announce when the lens-cap was off) stands on the mound in a bright white shirt. He’s too small; he’ll disappear in one of the towers when they’re ready. In another view, an apparently luxurious villa is perched high above the water in a classic Chinese river gorge, a long staircase seeming to indicate that it is inaccessible by road. Yet our view of it is framed to the right by a breeze block wall instead of by the natural wall of the canyon, a wall apparently suspended in mid-air. And in the distance, a huge motorway bridge will do its best to turn even this difficult terrain into a suburb.

This is very fine travel photography indeed, literate and articulate. It’s driven by curiosity and shaped by skill. There is at the moment a ton of self-scrutiny coming to the west from Chinese photographic artists. I’m not sure that any of it is as revealing as this sustained stare by a brilliantly gifted outsider.

‘Yangtze From East to West’ by Nadav Kander is at Flowers Editions, London E2, until November 26, 2008.