Spotlight is part of PHOTOFAIRS’ ongoing mission to present cutting-edge exhibitions. These focused initiatives give collectors a myriad of opportunities to experience a variety of presentations, which underline the formidable aesthetic and intellectual power characteristic of the photographic arts. Spotlight's main objective is to highlight an artist of international renown who is of particular relevance and importance to the contemporary photography space and market at the time of the fair. Previous editions of Spotlight include Ren Hang: 19 Photos and Taryn Simon: Birds of the West Indies. The 2018 edition of Spotlight will be announced in the Spring.
The 2017 edition of Spotlight focused on Ren Hang: 19 Photos presented by KWM artcenter showing an exhibition of the final works printed and authenticated by the late Chinese photographer. All 19 works, originally displayed at the KWM artcenter in Beijing for his last exhibition 'Beauty Without Beards' in February 2017, demonstrate his instinctive affinity to the medium of photography. Since his death a reassessment of his work has begun avoiding the heavily emphasized sexual-political framework within which his work was often contextualised during his life.
Through research of his interviews, both with himself and with those who were close to him, personally and professionally, as well as looking closer at the way he lived, his belongings and images he looked at, one can clearly see that there are art historical and aesthetic precedents that present an often-ignored filter through which to understand his work.
This exhibition highlights his enthusiasm for abstraction within the human body. The male bodies in this selection of his works are naked, alive, tactile and desirable and, at same time, also compositions, gestures, arrangements and forms. Both human and inhuman.