The Pearl River

Private: Christian Lutz

The Pearl River offers a photographic immersion in Macao, high place of gambling and luxury, a spectacular symbol of a megalomaniac and conquering China. This city with a mythical and sulphurous aura has inspired many writers, directors and artists. A former Portuguese possession (from the 16th century to 1999), located at the southern end of China, in the delta of the Pearl River, Macao now enjoys a privileged economic situation thanks to gambling.

The beginning of the 2000s marked an important turning point for this urban center : the Chinese authorities decided to open the gambling sector to free competition, while in China itself – on the other side of the border – games of chance remain prohibited. The result of this liberalisation is an outrageous development of casino construction and a financial windfall that has multiplied. About 30 million tourists visit Macau per year. A very large majority of them come from China and Hong Kong, and go there to play. For nearly 15 years, Macao has replaced Las Vegas, in terms of wealth. Its casinos are imagined on the Vegas model and impregnated with references to Europe and its culture. Once upon a time there was America, now it’s China …

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