Medical hospitals are, by and large, pretty uncomfortable places. Sterile surgical supplies and medical equipment fill up bright and otherwise empty spaces. They’re functional; everything is optimized to prevent people from dying. Chinese photographer Zhang Wei photographs these clinics in his series New Life Space. “This is neither the gates of hell nor the palace of eternal life,” Kang Guosheng writes to introduce Wei’s series. “From Foucault’s perspective, it is an unequal space of power for the patient – the patient is completely revealed to the doctor, but the patient knows nothing about medical treatment.”
In his series, the machines shown aren’t there to be comprehended; multi-coloured cables, tubes and monitors connect to machines that could be used for anything from radiotherapy or to treat a broken toe. The artificial lighting and electric devices, still running, suggest the medics have just left the scene, but without any activity or human presence in the spaces he photographed, it gives you the feeling there’s something eerie going on. Although the jolly green walls and bright blue sheets are there to make you feel more at home, it’s distinctly not a warm and friendly place.
Zhang Wei's work was included in the Lishui International Photography Festival 2017.