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Dear Franklin

Kurt Tong

Editions Xavier Barral

2021 Prix Elysée Laureate

Publication date : 2022/01/01
Weight 850 g / Dimensions 17 x 23.5 cm / 352 pages
ISBN 9782365113298

Following in the footsteps of a man named Franklin Lung, the book Dear Franklin immerses the reader in the history of the Chinese diaspora, from the fall of the Middle Empire in 1912 until the 1950s. Through vintage images, press clippings, letters and photographs, Kurt Tong tells the story of the life of a man from a modest family at the beginning of the last century, who after brilliant studies settled in the cosmopolitan Shanghai. He will then be caught up in the tumult of political events in the first half of the 20th century in China.

The book unfolds in an original way the meanders of a love affair skillfully intertwining personal and historical narratives. Throughout the pages, the daily life of the two protagonists, two lovers separated by everything, is revealed. The book can be flipped through and read in the classic way, from left to right: exchanges of letters and photographs sketch the destiny of the two characters, like a serial novel; but also from right to left, and it is then that the whole political and social history of China in the first half of the 20th century unfolds. With its alternating pages of dif­ferent widths, the book offers two reading systems, half fiction, half history. Archivist, poet, novelist, historian, Kurt Tong explodes the boundaries of the book of photography.

This artistic work was awarded the prestigious Prix Elysée, and is published on the occasion of the opening of Photo Elysée, formerly called Musée de l’Elysée, in the new arts district Plateforme 10 in Lausanne.

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