PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai, highlights and fifth edition | PHOTOFAIRS

PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai, highlights and fifth edition

© XIANG LIQING, Press 1, 2007. Courtesy of ShanghART Gallery (Shanghai, Beijing & Singapore)

Designed to challenge our understanding of the possibilities of photography. Our fifth anniversary in Shanghai will be marked by an ambitious Insights exhibition, and a strong focus on artists pushing the boundaries of photography across the Fair’s 50 leading Chinese and international galleries. Classic masterpieces will be shown alongside contemporary work combining photography with art, sculpture, installation and video.

Widely regarded as Asia Pacific’s leading destination to discover and collect photography from around the world, PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai will return to the Shanghai Exhibition Center from September 21-23, 2018, with Presenting Partner Porsche.

Ground-breaking exhibition given platform in Shanghai
PHOTOFAIRS’ 2018 Public Program will be anchored by the Insights exhibition. Positioned at the entrance of the Fair, curator Victor Wang (王宗孚) has drawn inspiration from the seminal exhibition, “The Same But Also Changed (物是人非)”, which was prematurely closed before it could open to the public in 1999. 

The original exhibition challenged what was considered ‘contemporary art’ at the time by showcasing different artists’ attitudes to photography. It proved to be a turning point in the Shanghai art scene as it brought together artists who are today recognized as pivotal to the development of Chinese contemporary art, and to the development of a larger artistic network in the region.

Wang’s re-imagining of the 1999 exhibition for Insights will feature artists including Geng Jiangyi 耿建翌, Yang Fudong 杨福东, Hu Jieming 胡介鸣, Xu Zhen 徐震, Liang Yue 梁玥, Chen Xiaoyun 陈晓云, Yang Zhenzhong 杨振中, Xiang Lqing 向利庆, alongside a new generation of image makers.  
Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • A site-specific installation using post-it notes printed with photographs by multimedia artist Xu Zhen
  • The ‘Postcards’ series by Hu Jieming: digital photographic works in which cut up postcards of
  • Famous Chinese buildings and resorts are spliced with symbols of everyday life to fabricate new scenes and printed as new postcards
  • Curiosity cabinets combining photography, archival images, and text by artist Chen Zhe
  • Stills from Yang Fudong’s seminal five-part film, Seven Intellectuals in a Bamboo Forest
  • Content Aware, a large-sculptural work by internet artist Miao Ying who is specifically concerned with issues of censorship on the Chinese internet

Wang comments: “I hope to highlight the rich ‘unofficial’ exhibition histories of contemporary art in China, and the role photography and art can play to help illuminate the larger social and cultural landscape of China at that time.

Talking about the commissioning of the exhibition, Georgia Griffiths, Group Fair Director said: “Insights has always been the thematic centre of the fair. This year’s exhibition pays homage to an era-defining moment and to artists who changed the conversation around photography in China in the late 1990s.  The exhibition celebrates not only the importance of the artists, but how integral they have been in challenging and developing our understanding of what photography can do beyond the still image.

Read more about our Insights program here.

Innovative work from leading galleries and significant artists

PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai will present a rich mix of artists and galleries who challenge the disciplinary boundaries of photography. Confirmed for 2018 are:

  • New for this year, GALLERIA CONTINUA (San Gimignano, Beijing, Les Moulins & Havana) with new work by Belgian visual artist Hans Op De Beeck together with Carsten Höller, Zhuang Hui and Giovanni Ozzola
  • ShanghART Gallery (Shanghai, Beijing & Singapore) and Three Shadows + 3 Gallery (Beijing & Xiamen), which have both participated in every PHOTOFAIRS edition, will showcase diverse Chinese talent including Birdhead, Wenhuan Shao, Chen Wei, Kechun Zhang and Renhui Zhao
  • A focus on Japanese art will run throughout the Fair. Leading Japanese galleries art space AM (Tokyo), rin art association (Takasaki) and Taka Ishii Gallery (Tokyo & New York) join international and Chinese galleries presenting Japanese artists including Ryusuke Kido, (Christine Park Gallery, London & New York), Aki Lumi and Yuki Onodera (Vanguard Gallery, Shanghai) and Daido Moriyama (see + gallery, Beijing)
  • New work from Jiang Zhi’s Fade series will be presented by Blindspot Gallery (Hong Kong) alongside Jiang Pengyi
  • Chinese artists Hai Bo and Hong Hao will be showcased by Pace Gallery (New York, Palo Alto, London, Paris, Seoul & Beijing)
  • Matthew Liu Fine Arts (Shanghai) will return to the Fair with new video works by Yang Yongliang alongside multidisciplinary artists Vik Muniz and Javier Martin who will both present works using collage
  • Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (Salzburg, Paris & London) will debut at the Fair with works from masters of photography Irving Penn, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Valie Export


Changing the face of contemporary photography in China
Since launching in 2014, PHOTOFAIRS has played a significant role in the growing importance of the photographic medium in China, the world’s second largest art market, and the repositioning of photography as a collectable art form. The four previous Shanghai editions have welcomed more than 100,000 collectors, curators, and buyers and offered each the opportunity to discover new artists and works fresh to China, together with classic masterpieces, large-scale installations, and moving image pieces. Alongside the Fair, the number of photography exhibitions in Shanghai have increased 250% between 2014 and 2017, and four major photography museums have opened across China, supporting the increased interest in the medium of photography.

Critic and curator Christopher Phillips comments: “PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai has become a crossroads for international collectors, museum curators, and image entrepreneurs in search of exciting work not yet on the radar in Paris, New York, and London. It has also played an important role in shaping the tastes of the new generation of photography collectors who are increasingly evident in China.”

Thomas Shao, Shao Foundation & Modern Media Group, adds: “PHOTOFAIRS is the most anticipated international fair in my calendar, and has been since its inception five years ago. The Fair had witnessed the tremendous growth in the region in terms of photography and new media art collection. The most obvious evidence is that new museums, such as SCoP and Light Society, with programming rivalling well established photography international museums are planting roots in fertile, yet still underdeveloped Chinese soil.

See our full press release here.