Read the exclusive interview of Holly Roussell, an independent curator, museologist and art historian specializing in photography and contemporary art from Asia. During the Rencontres d’Arles 2019, she curated the Chinese artist Pixy Liao’s solo show in collaboration with Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival.
This week is dedicated to summaries of what happened during the Rencontres d’Arles opening week [1-7 July 2019]. Let’s continue with photobooks that connect with Chinese society and culture.
The Poverty Line by Chow and Lin won the Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award 2019. The Poverty Line uses the universal lens of food to examine the daily choices you would face if you lived at the poverty line. Over the last 8 years, the artists travelled 150,000 km to photograph this project across 31 countries/territories. The project takes a typological approach over time. Each country's figure is based on their poverty line definition and official national statistics to derive a per capita per day rate. Food is then procured from local markets using that monetary amount. Each piece of work is photographed with the food items placed on local newspapers purchased on the day of the shoot, with the dimensions, lighting carefully measured to express a uniform aesthetic across time and geographical spread.
We have been supporting Chow and Lin’s works for many years. “I really hope this is the beginning of the relationship of the Poverty Line and the French audience,“ Stefen Chow once said when we interviewed him for his first solo show in France in 2015 [see video here]. He couldn’t be more right in light of his recent prize, congratulations on the well deserved success. [Images below: Chow and Lin The Poverty Line Dummy Book © Stefen Chow]
Below are other books we spotted at Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award exhibition.
We also visited Cosmos (1 rue de la Paix, 13200 Arles), a four day event to celebrate photography and photobooks, where we met again Yuan Di from Jiazazhi and Zhen Shi from La Maison de Z. Located in Ningbo, Jiazazhi has not only established itself as a leading independent publishing house in China, but it has also recently developed an exhibition space. Yuan Di presented his two latest publications. First, Li Yang/404 Not Found, who recorded an abandoned desert city called “404” built to develop nuclear weapons. A special edition limited in 100 copies, signed and numbered, in paperboard slipcase, with 8 A3 posters (folded) is also available. Second, Kurt Tong/Combing for Ice and Jade, whose series is a love note from the artist to his nanny who was one of the last remaining ‘self combed’ women left in China. Kurt Tong’s works are currently exhibited in the Rencontres d’Arles [See our previous article].
Zhen Shi from the independent publishing house la Maison de Z introduced her latest publications, including Even Us, Even Me about a little-known aspect of Sun Yanchu’s landscape works in which nature serves as metaphor or vehicle for conveying a state of mind; and Uncharted+ by Wang Juyan, a Chinese image artist currently based in London. Uncharted+ continues to carry the dystopian character of Wang Juyan’s work. As indicated in the title, the book features a series of uncharted landscapes, by their physical existence or by digital collages, from Wang’s project 2084, 2085 and 2086. Somehow seeing from above, the perspective always seems dwelling with power. Uncharted+ is inspired from the ambiguity of power of aerial images, which contains no liner narrative but monumental and metaphorical landscapes. A special mention should go to its astounding graphic design and bookbinding. It should be noted that both photobooks were on display at the Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award 2019 exhibition. Watch below Zhen Shi’s exclusive interview, in which she explains in further details how she approaches photography and publishing.
Still at Cosmos, we discovered Lu Nan’s recently released monograph. Published in October 2018 by Gost Books, Trilogy offer an exhaustive anthology of Lu Nan’s seminal works. This large size publication draws together three series of the photographer’s work created over the course of 15 years; The Forgotten People, a haunting study of the living conditions of China’s psychiatric patients; On the Road, a document of the daily lives of Catholics in China and Four Seasons, a chronicle of the lives of rural peasants in Tibet. Collectively, the projects are part of one major work presenting three stages of inner life - suffering, purification and peace of heart. Previously only published in his native China, this is the first English language publication of the renowned photographer’s work. Trilogy was also on display at the Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award 2019 exhibition.
We strongly recommend Katherine Oktober Matthews’ latest publication Unique: Making Photographs in the Age of Ubiquity, which calls into question the uniqueness of photography. What is a “unique” photograph? Is it still possible to make photographs that are unique, given the medium’s ubiquity in our world? Unique: Making Photographs in the Age of Ubiquity is a thoughtful guide for photographers through today’s complex landscape of images, with the ultimate goal of understanding how to make images that matter. Artist and editor Katherine Oktober Matthews leads readers through a way of thinking about images over three parts: Understanding Photographs, Making Photographs, and Moving in Pursuit of Unique. In images, Unique features work by nearly fifty contemporary artists, both established and emerging, who have taken a role in defining the language of photography. This publication was also on display at the Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award 2019 exhibition.
Finally, Thomas Sauvin’s Silvermine Albums were exhibited at the “50 Years, 50 Books: A Selection from the Martin Parr Collection”. This exhibition was dedicated to Martin Parr’s photography book collection, which encompassed an extensive library of over 12,000 works. Amongst them: Silvermine Albums which is a set of five photo albums, offering a unique photographic portrait of the Chinese capital and the lives of its inhabitants covering a period of 20 years – from 1985 to 2005.
This week is dedicated to summaries of what happened during the Rencontres d’Arles opening week [1-7 July 2019]. Here is a selection of shows that particularly caught our attention.
This week is dedicated to summaries of what happened during the Rencontres d’Arles opening week [1-7 July 2019]. Let’s continue with key press conferences that marked the engagement between this authoritative event and China.
Special week dedicated to the 50th edition of the Rencontres d’Arles 2019. We start by shedding light on photographic works from China and Hong Kong.
Each and every summer we are back in The Rencontres d'Arles. This Summer, the festival turns 50. It’s a long story that’s seen the history of photography pass by. Twenty-six artistic directors have come and gone, presenting over 1,234 exhibitions under the watchful eyes of Arles’ founders, Lucien Clergue, Jean-Maurice Rouquette and Michel Tournier to whom the festival is paying tribute this year.
As Sam Stourdzé - Director of the Rencontres d'Arles - explains: "With 50 shows for its 50 years (...), [we continue] with the same high standards to achieve our goals of revealing trends and discovering the new generation. This year, complementing many historical shows—Helen Levitt, Variétés, Photo/Brut, Germaine Krull and so on—we are offering four new sequences corresponding to the program’s themes: My Body Is a Weapon, On the Edge, Inhabiting and Building the Image. (...) Talking about yesterday, today and tomorrow, tirelessly exploring photography, entering its zones of friction, where artists reveal the unspeakable, the Rencontres d’Arles has gone all-out to offer an ambitious, eclectic, electric program.” Stay tuned for next special reports on the Rencontres d’Arles 2019.
Watch the exclusive interview of the Chinese photographer and publisher Zhen Shi.
For “Conte d’hiver” [Winter’s Tale], French photographer Catherine Henriette chose Songhua River in the northeast of China, an immense blank page or backdrop for her attempt to capture life in the Chinese north.
The Walther Collection is currently presenting “Then and Now: Life and Dreams Revisited”, an exhibition that extends the Collection's ongoing survey of Chinese photography since 2017. Curated by Christopher Philips in 2018, “Life and Dreams: Contemporary Chinese Photography and Media Art” was the first extensive exhibition of works by Chinese artists represented in the collection.
The Image Memory of Lianzhou presents a series of photographs taken in Lianzhou by three local pioneers of photography, Wang Dongfu, Du Jixi and Pan Renshi, who have left behind twenty years of photographic memories of their hometown.