Q&A with Exposure Award 2020 Judge Cao Dan | PHOTOFAIRS

Q&A with Exposure Award 2020 Judge Cao Dan

To celebrate the Exposure Award 2020 now being open for applications, we're running weekly Q&As with each member on this year's judging panel. Cao Dan is President of MODERN ART and Publisher of The Art Newspaper China and LEAP. 

"2020 is a special year. I am curious about what the artists' creation look like at this time."

Last year you were the judge of the inaugural Exposure Award. What was your greatest feeling in reviewing the applications? What is your opinion about the creation of the first winner Noémie Goudal?

The applications allowed me to see the work of many young photographic artists, and it was interesting to see how they could make aesthetic or conceptual breakthroughs through the medium of photography. My comment for the winner of 2019, Noémie Goudal is that her "sculpture-photography" constructs a world where reality and fiction, dreams and illusions meet. Her works rekindle people's original pure gaze on the sky, nature and universe, exploring the dwelling place of poetry and ideas in the fabled artificial landscape.

We have asked you to join the judging panel for this year's Exposure Award. What do you hope to see in this year's applications? What kind of artists, artworks and galleries are you eager to see?

2020 is a special year. I am curious about what the artists' creation look like at this time. For the Exposure Award, I expect it to get better and better. This Award promotes the creativity of the image media and encourages the younger generation of artists as well as contribute to their career. In fact, I have no preconceived ideas about the artists, works or galleries participating in this award. It's good to see something that daring, powerful and creative –with a few surprises.

In terms of photography and moving image/ video/ new media art in the last 3-5 years, what do you think are the more interesting experimental creative directions?

Photography has been a visual art for more than 180 years. Artists have never stopped exploring the medium's technical and aesthetic possibilities and boundaries. Like the "image generation" artists such as Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince 40 years ago, who were faced with the outbreak of new media at the time, the popularity of social media today, while providing more possibilities, also proposes more complex social topics and discussion spaces. The increasing maturity of augmented reality, virtual reality and other technologies is also a field worth exploring for photography artists.

In your opinion, what significance does the establishment of this award have for the development of photography art in the Asia-Pacific region?

In fact, the role and effect of an award alone is a little limiting weak as it requires the development of the industry as a whole. It is gratifying that several international photography festivals, photography art institutions and related awards are held in China every year, including photography art fairs such as the PHOTOFAIRS in Shanghai. In any case, what we need is the social forces to jointly promote the sustainable development of this industry.

The Exposure Award, powered by Modern Eye, cements the fair’s role in supporting emerging and experimental galleries and artists.