Hanlin (Han) Mu, a Chinese fine art photographer, merges traditional methods and a contemporary perspective to provoke thought and create resonance with his audience. His first significant showcase, a solo exhibition titled “Optimum Times” in 2018, introduced viewers to his unique approach: a sensitive eye for life’s often overlooked details and a profound inspiration drawn from nature. This ethos was also recognized in his inclusion in the 2023 HATE-MODERN exhibition by Felt Photographic, spotlighting his talent for visual storytelling.

Mu’s work reflects a deep exploration into the essence of photographic representation and its role in shaping the artist’s self-identification. His pieces seek to engage viewers in a dialogue about the nature and meaning of photography, challenging the boundary between observer and observed.

In addition to traditional photography, Mu has embraced the digital frontier, working with Midjourney to explore the potential of AI image generation. This innovative approach garnered attention from the 4C gallery in Los Angeles, demonstrating his versatility as an artist adapting to evolving mediums.

Mu’s major project, “Civil Twilight,” set for a solo exhibition in Los Angeles, is expected to further delve into these thematic explorations.

Artist’s Statement

“Civil Twilight,” a photographic oeuvre, dissects the deceptive allure of nature’s ambivalence through a series of poignant and evocative images. By casting a spotlight on the paradox of the serene yet perilous Ocean Beach, the project invites the viewer to tread the precarious line between the sublime beauty and inherent danger of our natural world.

Imbued with memories of a childhood spent near the sea in China, the artist navigates the tragic realities of nature’s power, a truth made hauntingly tangible by the loss of a friend’s father to the tumultuous sea. The project resonates with this personal narrative while connecting with the collective consciousness through tales of missing persons around Ocean Beach.

“Civil Twilight,” inspired by a heartbreaking missing person poster and subsequent news revelation, delves into the tragic, unsolved mysteries shrouding the beach. The photographer meticulously recreates scenes based on local news reports, blending elements of documentation and artistic interpretation. The intention is twofold: to illuminate the dangers lurking beneath the enticing façade of nature and to investigate how the seemingly trivial details of life can evolve into profound narratives. Each image in “Civil Twilight” is shot during the transitional period it’s named after, intentionally focusing on the surroundings and blurring the human element to infuse an air of mystery. The photographs, though devoid of the sun, subtly capture its light bouncing off the waves, hinting at the dreamlike twilight hues. This artistic decision both underscores the deceptive beauty of the twilight sea and amplifies the enduring spirit of hope. While these stories are steeped in tragedy, the hope that some missing persons might still be found alive lingers. “Civil Twilight” is an artful juxtaposition of nature’s beauty and threat, capturing the ethereal moments between existence and disappearance, and igniting a beacon of hope amid the enveloping despair.