[Haikou, Hainan Province, China – 16 March 2018] In the mid-1930s, a celebrated German aviator called Wulf-Diether Graf zu Castell-Rüdenhausen flew over China with his Leica camera, recording stunning landscapes, natural features and historical monuments. For more than 80 years his photos have remained undiscovered and unseen – until now.
On April 7, Mission Hills Group, owners and operators of the world’s largest golf and leisure facility, will launch the ”China Flug” (meaning China Flight) photography exhibition at the luxury Mission Hills Haikou resort on the tropical Chinese island of Hainan.
On display will be several precious and historical photos which have remained unseen to the world for many years, amazingly found at Castell’s family home. These photographs record incredible images of old China through the power of aerial photography.
Visitors will experience a special exhibition encapsulating the past and blazing a new trail towards a brighter future in photography. They will witness a side to China not seen before as China’s beauty and diversity are displayed for all to see.
Castell has become a legend, not just because of his aerial photography but also because of the precious images he captured. With his Leica camera he was able to capture China through a tumultuous time. He flew over cities, countryside, rolling hills, ports and residential areas including riverbeds and farmlands which were previously undocumented. He was able to encapsulate the spirit of the time with great style and panache and will be remembered as an amazing pioneer both as an aviator and a photographer.
The “China Flug” exhibition will run from April 7 for 45 days at Mission Hills Centreville in Haikou. Entry will be free, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Hainan’s status as a province.
Wulf-Diether Graf zu Castell-Rüdenhausen, photographer of the “China Flug” exhibition
“We are honoured to team up with Mission Hills – like Leica, a family-owned business and a pioneer in its field – to bring these significant photos of China to the Chinese public,” said Chairman of the Supervisory Board Leica Camera AG, Dr Andreas Kaufmann, owner of the Ernst Leitz Archiv- und Museums gemeinnützige GmbH.
“China Flug is an example of how Leica captured the past one hundred years of human history. It is also a showcase of the long friendship built between Germany and China,” added Karin Kaufmann, Art Director of Leica Gallery International and Chairwoman of the Ernst Leitz Archiv- und Museums gemeinnützige GmbH.
“Mission Hills Haikou, the most visited tourist attraction in Hainan, is delighted to partner with Leica, with more than 100 years of history, to create yet another first for China and for the world,” added Tenniel Chu, Group Vice Chairman of Mission Hills. “As China’s international tourism island, it is befitting that Hainan should be the location to unveil these remarkable aerial photos of China that have remained a secret for so long. It is our gift to the province and its people to celebrate Hainan’s 30th anniversary!”
Sun Ying, director of the Hainan Provincial Tourism Development Commission commented: “Visitors to Hainan continue to grow year on year and the province received more than 67.45 million tourists in 2017, up 12.2 per cent year-on-year, contributing 81 billion yuan in revenue. Mission Hills has been at the forefront of tourism in Haikou for close to a decade and the China Flug exhibition will be another hugely popular attraction for visitors to Hainan.”