Launched in 2016, Insights, is an initiative which focuses on a particular theme or an important moment in the development of photography. Each year PHOTOFAIRS commissions a new curator to offer a new perspective on the exhibition. The 2018 edition of Insights, powered by Patek Philippe, was curated by Victor Wang 王宗孚, a curator, and researcher based in Shanghai and London.
The curator for the 2019 edition of PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai will be announced in early 2019.
The 2018 Insights exhibition revisited the 1999 exhibition The Same But Also Changed (物是人非). This was scheduled to open at 859 Tian Yao Qiao Road, Shanghai, from September 4 – 6, 1999, but was prematurely closed by authorities before it could open to the public.
The exhibition was one of the first to explore contemporary photography in Shanghai at a time where there was a shift in experimental and conceptual lens-based practices in China. Bringing together 15 Chinese artists, the exhibition aimed to explore the new and diverse approaches that had emerged within contemporary Chinese photography. These approaches allowed for a new-found unconventionality and spontaneity, and encouraged viewers to reconsider the definition of ‘contemporary art’ and ‘Chinese photography’ (Zhongguo shying).
Many of the artists featured in the original exhibition are today recognized as influential within Chinese contemporary art, and to the development of a larger artistic network in the region, and worldwide. The original artists displayed in the 1999 exhibition include: Chen Xiaoyun, Geng Jianyi, Kan Xuan, Hu Jieming, Liang Yue, Xiang Liqing, Yang Zhenzhong, Yang Fudong, Liu Wei and Xu Zhen.
The 2018 edition also featured artworks by a new generation of Chinese artists who work in various mediums. This includes Chen Zhe, Fan Xi, Ma Qiusha, Miao Ying, Yang Yuanyuan and Shi Zheng. These younger artists represent the further changes and developments that have taken place in recent years and indicate how the current generation of artists are expanding the traditional definition of photography.