As an excellent platform for the discovery and collection of photography and photo-based works in the Asia-Pacific region, PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai has always been committed to stimulating the local and world market of photographic art through rigorous selection, well-planned exhibition and comprehensive services, and opening exchanges and dialogue. It can be said that this is not only the purpose of the fair but also its goal and vision.
Here below, we want to “reveal” some of the true facts that have taken place on and off the site since the very beginning of the fair, some of which you may already know, and some of which may be overlooked. In a word, we hope that after reading this, you can understand us better and look forward to our performance next year.
In September 2014, PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai officially launched to respond to the growing interest in photography and moving image art from around the world. As the first landmark art fair focusing on photography in China, it immediately exploded in Shanghai and radiated the Asia-Pacific region. There was an impressive number of visitors to the first edition, with 28,000 people seeing the fair.
PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai is a joint venture between Angus Montgomery Arts and the World Photography Organisation and is part of a wider network of leading contemporary art fairs including Taipei Dangdai, Sydney Contemporary, India Art Fair, and Art SG.
Compared to large-scale comprehensive art fairs, PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai is more inclined to create a well-curated and vigorous exposition, with around 50 exhibitors. Exhibiting galleries in the 2019 fair were from 15 countries 27 cities and each reported exceptional sales with works selling from $2,000 – $50,000 (USD).
From textbook art masters to superstars in the international photography world, the fair not only brings together excellent artists of all ages, but is the first show ground for many heavyweights and their creations. For example, in 2019, Marina Abramovic presented her legendary series The Lovers (1988) or mainland audiences for the first time in the Spotlight. In 2018, Hiroshi Sugimoto introduced his Gates of Paradise (2015) to Chinese audiences for the first time through the Expo platform.
In 2017, the Fair began to break down the boundaries of photography further by introducing various works in the form of specific field installations, videos, mobile images and new media art. In this regard, impressive works that have been exhibited include – but are not limited to – Family Tree, a performance piece documented in nine still photographs by Zhang Huan, the large-scale work named The Thousand Face Door by Cai Dongdong and the commission work Utopia by SeungWoo Back.
In order to further encourage cutting-edge creations, the Fair partnered with Modern Eye to launch the Exposure Award. In 2019 Noémie Goudal, with her bold ideas and elegant vision, stood out. In 2020, Xu Guanyu won the award with Temporarily Censored Home. In this series of works, Xu Guanyu juxtaposed, interspersed and nested a large number of images within a physical space, thus forming a series of exquisite and complex photographic collages that break the boundaries of time, space and dimension.
Shanghai is one of the largest visual art hubs in Asia and with a widening embrace of the photographic medium in China the photography exhibitions in China have increased by 250%. This is not only the reason for the PHOTOFAIRS to choose Shanghai, but also the cornerstone for its sustainable development. PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai will return to the Shanghai Exhibition Center from November 3-6, 2021 with a Collectors’ Preview on Wednesday, November 3. We look forward to seeing you then.