Q&A with Exposure Judge Lu Ni | PHOTOFAIRS

Q&A with Exposure Judge Lu Ni

The 2020 Exposure Award application is now closed, we'll be announcing the winner in the very near future. While PHOTOFAIRS 2020 in Shanghai might be cancelled, we are pleased that the Exposure Award will still be celebrated in 2020 through a substantial solo exhibition at the Modern Studio in Shanghai from September 11-20, 2020. We interviewed judge Lu Ni to discover what she is most excited about seeing in this year's applications. 

© Nobuyoshi Araki show at XPM. Courtesy of XPM

As the judge of the 2020 Exposure Award, what are your biggest expectation? What’s the advice you want to say to the award applicants?

I believe that the artists and works recommended by galleries around the world will definitely refresh us and continue to bring new opportunities and vitality to photography. I look forward to seeing more powerful and meaningful works in this selection process. I think that bold innovation and experimentation, and the courage to express and be seen at the same time, this is the same for all artists and artists.

How do you understand the meaning of cutting-edge or experiment? Are there any clear criteria for judging artists and their creations?

The words cutting edge and experiment are quite popular in the art field. Sometimes they are confused with avant-garde and contemporary. It is easy to make a mistake called creating art just for art and it is also easy to produce diaphragm between the audience. In my opinion, these two words have two meanings, and both have the meaning of exploration and innovation. They can be boldly tried in various aspects such as style, style, method, and material, and have the courage to breakthrough in thinking.

The meaning of cutting edge, I would like to borrow what Gu Zheng once said: 'Cutting edge means always breaking something, always bringing anxiety, always questioning.' Thus, it perhaps means to break our existing ideas, sweep away the obscurity, and lead us into a deeper unknown. 

Relatively speaking, 'Experiment' has an uncertain meaning which brings an attempt and an inclusive attitude. The result of 'Experiment' allow creators and viewers to have an open mind. 
According to my rules, creation is not only about seeking new ideas but also about exploring profound meanings. Otherwise, there is a suspicion of acting differently.

© Wing Shya show Acting Out, 25 Years Behind A Camera at XPM. Courtesy of XPM

As the executive director of the XPM, how do you comprehend the significance of this award to the whole image art industry?

To talk about the photography art industry, it is necessary to talk about the industrialization, commercialization, and dissemination of photography. According to China's situation, it can be roughly divided into these aspects:

First is the exhibition economy of photography. Many cities encourage public photo education by encouraging the photography art festival and spreading the name of the city, and have allowed Chinese photographers to find a platform that is recognized by the public. Highlighted are the Dali International Photography Festival and the Lianzhou International Photography Festival.

Second, the copyright economy of photography. One of the most important differences in the value of photo art from other arts is the wider breadth of copyright copying and application and the potential for cross-border commercial value. The Internet has promoted the application value of image copyrights and also helped many photographers.

In particular, I am very much looking forward to the breakthrough of cross-border cooperation in the field of photography in the context of cultural industry upgrading. Forty years of reform and opening-up, China's urbanization has allowed the cultural industry to go through the enclosing process of cultural tourism real estate and cultural industrial parks (such as Beijing's 798, Jing Yuan, Beijing Film Industry Park, etc.). With the development of the Internet, technological changes have brought about industrial upgrading, and the cross-border integration of photography and commerce will be a huge market that releases the value of IP. As the executive director of the XPM, I hope that the artists can trust professional institutions to get better exposure. The relationship between photography and industry is copyright derivative from a small point of view but from a large point of view, it could be understood as art that empowers the economy. So what I am dreaming is grafting business, win-win cooperation, professional people do professional things and artists trust the platform.

But, no matter which aspect, it is basically to support the creation and discovery of the artist, and to promote the development of video art to enable the development of the video art industry. From that point, the Exposure Award will bring opportunities to the artists.

© Nobouyoshi Araki show at XPM. Courtesy of XPM

In addition to apply various awards, what exactly should young artists do to be truly seen and have more possibilities for development?

In my opinion, as long as young artists concentrate on accumulation and creation, pay close attention to all aspects of the world, experience life and reality, draw nourishment from literature and philosophy, fully express themselves in works and are good at communication, they will have the opportunity to be seen.

In your opinion, what should we do next to better expand the influence of Exposure Award?

Effectively support the artist's creation and career, and allow more artists to obtain academic resources and help. More important is to integrate the other art resources despite of photography art in order to let young art creators stand on their toes and look at the world.

Stay tuned for the Exposure Award 2020 results!