Modu Magazine: A Tale of Urban China

“The Disappearing Harbor: Between Time, Space and Memory” – The Port and the Image II, Exhibition

Harbors, as multi-faceted places concentrating trade, transportation and social life, have shaped the development of many cities around the world. Throughout their history, they have constantly evolved under the influence of hydroecological transformations, shifting power balances, economic relations and technological changes. Today, globalization is reshaping the urbanisation of port cities, as harbors are being relocated and assigned new functions for leisure and entertainment. 

The exhibition “The Port and the Image II” seeks to explore this shift in the development of port cities. The “Disappearing Harbor” is a metaphor for the relationship between modernity and the traditional heritage of the port, on its architectural, spatial, ecological, social and cultural aspects. This second edition of The Port and the Image” includes works on inland port cities, as the first edition focused on port cities in the traditional sense such as Ningbo, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Dalian. 

Seven bodies of works from Chinese and Japanese artists, specially commissioned for this exhibition, are presented. Artists explore the different meanings of the “Disappearing Harbor” and its complex influence on cities, communities and individuals: visual representations of the emotional connection between Qingdao and a family from the Jiaodong Peninsula over several generations; the relationship between Yichang spirit and the Chinese society, politics, and culture; the relationship between the environment and the everyday life of local residents at Chongqing’s Chaotianmen Dock; and the clash between local culture and personal experience at Fuzhou’s Mawei Port. 

They also present the histories and modernities of port cities with visual accounts of historical events that took place at the Port of Yokohama in Japan (this section will be presented at “The Port and the Image III” in 2021), and of the evolution of the entertainment industry in Tianjin, a port city deeply influenced by harbor culture. Artists also present the potential of harbors in the era of high technology and artificial intelligence, with accounts of the associations between the intelligent harbor of Shanghai’s Yangshan Port and a modularized world.

In this exhibition, historical and modern narratives, as well as creative practices that focus on the “port” as a unique space, come together to present the artists’ look on the “Disappearing Harbor”. Text / Gwenaëlle Brandelet, edited by Jérémie Descamps



Contemporary Photography & Urban Transformation


October 16, 2019 to December 1, 2019


He Yining

Assistant Curator:

Cai Xinyuan


Chen Min, He Bo, Mu Ge, Shi Zhen, Tang Xiaosong, Wu Ding

Explored Cities:

Fuzhou, Tianjin, Chongqing, Qingdao, Yichang, Shanghai


China Port Museum Temporary Exhibition Space, No.6 Gangbo Road, Chunxiao, Beilun District, Ningbo, Zhejiang

About the museum:

The China Port Museum was founded in 2014 in Ningbo, Zhejiang. It is sanctioned by the State Council and classified as a second-grade national museum and an AAA tourist attraction. With a focus on port culture, the museum combines functions such as exhibition, education, collection, research, tourism and international exchange. As a global, professional, and interactive institution, the China Port Museum is the largest and highest-ranked museum in China that specializes in ports and port culture. The museum is dedicated to the research of the history of Chinese ports, the preservation of the heritage of port culture, and the teaching of maritime civilization; it also serves as an important cultural fulcrum on the maritime Silk Road of the new century.

About the curator:

HE Yining (born. 1986), curator and writer of photography. Graduate of London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. In 2010 began work as a curator, translator, and writer specializing in photography and visual culture. Yining’s exhibitions have been held in museums, art museums and galleries, and other institutions in China and Europe. including: “50 Contemporary Photobooks from China 2009-2014″(2015, FORMAT15 international Photo Festival, UK), “A Fictional Narrative Turn” (2016, Jimei Arles International Photo Festival), “The Port and The Image: Documenting China’s Harbor Cities” (2017, China Port Museum), and the 3rd Beijing Photo Biennale (2018, CAFA Art Museum, Beizhen Cultural Industries Center). Her publications include “Photography in the British Classroom,” and “The Port and the Image,” among others. Her translations include “Photography and Travel,” “Perspectives on Place: Theory and Practice in Landscape Photography” (forthcoming), “Art and Photography” (forthcoming), and “Artists Who Make Books” (forthcoming). Website:

  • 2019/10/16 - 2019/12/01

  • Ningbo

  • China Port Museum