Insights | The Same But Also Changed
Launched in 2016, Insights is an initiative which focuses on a particular theme or an important moment in the development of photography.
PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai’s 2018 edition of Insights will be curated by Victor Wang 王宗孚, a curator and researcher based in Shanghai and London.
For the exhibition, Wang is drawing on the photographic exhibition history of Shanghai and revisiting the 1999 artist- curated photo exhibition ‘The Same But Also Changed’, that 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. It brought together 15 artists based in China to explore the distinct aesthetic qualities images hold, and an innovative technology that alloLaunchedwed for unconventionality, spontaneity, and a provocation of what was considered to be ‘contemporary art’ at that time.
Many of the artists featured in the original exhibition are today recognized as influential to the development of Chinese contemporary art, and to the development of a larger artistic network in the region. Shanghai’s 2018 Insights exhibition will feature artworks by the original artists displayed in the 1999 exhibition, such as Geng Jiangyi, Yang Fudong, Hu Jieming, Xu Zhen, Liang Yue, Chen Xiaoyun, Yang Zhenzhong, Xiang Lqing, amongst others, alongside a new generation of Chinese artists working in various image-producing mediums.
Utilizing original photo documentation of the exhibition as a starting point, ‘The Same But Also Changed’ also reconsiders the premise of the title and the original exhibition by questioning how photography in China can also be understood as an effort to understand, memorize, and re-evaluate cultural history, particularly in the context of rapid cultural modernization and increased visual regulation and control, and how image producing technologies today have greatly expanded the medium and format of photography.
Pointing to an ‘unofficial’ history of contemporary art in China while considering the difference between perceiving photography as a subject and medium of study and as a technique to produce historical records that can help illuminate the larger social and cultural landscape of art, and making exhibitions in China at that time.
Previous editions of the PHOTOFAIRS Insights exhibition include ‘A Color Explosion: The Rise of Contemporary Photography’ curated by Alexander Montague-Sparey in 2017, and ‘New Approaches to Photography’ was co-curated by Alexander Montague-Sparey and Biljana Ciric. See below for more details.