The wide-format photographs of Sze Tsung Nicolás Leong (b. 1970; Mexico City, Mexico) challenge the conventions of landscape photography, drawing out striking planes of color and formal purity from myriad locations across the globe.
The series Horizons is the artist’s vast and unique picture of the world. Composed of broad, encompassing photographs of this planet’s diverse terrains, this series is connected by a common horizon line to form a continuous landscape that suggests an unfurled, and potentially limitless, view of the globe’s surface. Collectively, these images expand our range of vision by transcending familiar boundaries and forming unexpected relationships: Kenya’s open savannah extends into the tidal basins of northern France, a desert development in California continues as a pasture in Flanders, while the salt flats of Bolivia expand into Japan’s Ise Bay.
An extension of Horizons, Cities is an ongoing series of photographs that depicts a wide range of urban formations, from medieval towns to recent constructions, that offer a visual history and almost archeological chronicling of civic evolution from the distant past to the immediate present. The series continues Leong’s continuing interest in the unfolding of history and overarching transformations that occur through massive stretches of time. History Images likewise narrows in on urban change, focusing specifically on the erasure of history and the explosion of densely populated cities across China as the country pivoted to a market economy. Human figures are very rare in Leong’s compositions, yet humanity is centerfold in the marks left on the natural environment, and the rapid development of once untouched lands.
Sze Tsung Nicolás Leong's work has been exhibited internationally and is included in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, among others. He is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and the Abigail Cohen Rome Prize in Visual Arts from the American Academy in Rome. He is a finalist, in collaboration with writer Judy Chui-Hua Chung, for the design of the Memorial to the Victims of the 1871 Chinese Massacre in Los Angeles. The artist works and lives in Los Angeles.