Modu Magazine: A Tale of Urban China

“Civilization: The Way We Live Now” at UCCA Beijing – Exhibition

Across the world, photographers observe and record how we live, work, play and move. Their work bears witness to the development of human life on a global scale in the 21st century, as shown in the monumental traveling photography exhibition “Civilization: The Way We Live Now”. Hosted by the UCCA Center for Contemporary Arts in Beijing until May, 19th, the exhibit features 250 artworks by more than 120 photographers from across the globe.

The exhibition emphasizes the collectiveness of contemporary life–never before have individuals been so interconnected and interdependent. Through its eight sections, the visitor explores key aspects of our civilization, from where we live (“Hive”), how we move (“Flow”) and relax (“Escape”) to our social relationships (“Alone Together”), the expression and mechanisms of authority and power (“Control”, “Persuasion”), and societal change and conflicts (“Rupture”). The last section, “Next”, looks at the new world taking shape in the 21st century.

The photographs portray all regions of the globe: Pictures of Mexico City and Dubai’s skyline (Pablo Lopéz Luz, Philippe Chancel) stand alongside depictions of urban life in Tokyo (Michael Wolf) and Seoul (Yeondoo Jung), while China’s mass industry and its by-products are documented by several artists (Xing Danwen, Hong Hao, Edward Burtynsky). By bringing together photographers of many nationalities, the exhibition “Civilization: The Way We Live Now” offers a multicultural perspective on the human life taking shape today and tomorrow.

Author: Gwenaëlle Brandelet, edited by: Jérémie Descamps



“Civilization: The Way We Live Now”


March 9, 2019 to May 19, 2019


UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China

Other venues:

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (September 20, 2019-February 2, 2020), Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MUCEM), Marseille, France (January 16, 2021-April 16, 2021)


William A. Ewing and Holly Roussell


The Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis/New York/Paris/Lausanne, and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Korea, Seoul

Participating artists:

Group exhibition

  • 2019/03/09 - 2019/05/19

  • Beijing

  • UCCA