Ming Jue is a reference to the re-branding of MG Rover since its move from the Longbridge plant in Birmingham to the new site for production in Nanjing, China. It is a term that translates as “modern gentleman”.
Stuart Whipps began to document the MG Rover plant in Longbridge in 2004. In 2005, the 6,000+ staff were informed of its temporary closure. Most never came back. What started as an attempt to explore the relationships between the factory, the workers and the town became a poignant study of absence and change.
The production of MG Rover has now been transferred to Nanjing, China and Stuart has photographed the developing site. He was even there to witness the first car off the assembly line.
This exhibition brings together photographs of both the Longbridge and Nanjing plants. Though relating to a very specific context, these images speak volumes about the transformation of heavy industry in the 21st century and its wider implications.