Born in 1984 in Binzhou, in China's Shandong province, Rongguo Gao graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 2012. Notably influenced by Diane Arbus, Loretta Lux and Rineke Dijkstra, he has made the portrait his genre of preference.
Curator: Bohnchang Koo
A veteran of two primary and at least five secondary schools, Gao had trouble adapting to these endless changes; but a lasting memory of those years is that of three pairs of identical twins among his schoolmates, and the intriguing disparity between the life paths of two twins: one brother studied at university, the other went no further than junior high school. Does being born identical mean similar lives? In his search for an answer, Gao came upon the Greek philosopher Carneades (c. (–219, -128 BCE), noted, among other things, for challenging the notion of the horoscope: "Those born under the same sign need not have the same destiny; and those who experience the same events are not necessarily born at the same time." Taking this astrological paradox as his starting point, Gao set to work on his Twins series, visiting a total of 511 villages in search of his former friends and other twins. He ultimately opted for photographing 23 perfectly identical pairs, all of them aged over 50.
Presenting his portraits face to face, he obtains a fascinating mirror effect: 'These twins have the same facial features and come from the same family, but they haven't lived the same life. Each is the mirror of the other. And through the other, one comes to a better understanding of oneself”.