The city of Shanghai became Asia Pacific’s home for photography this week with the fifth anniversary of PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai. Running September 20-23 at the Shanghai Exhibition Center, galleries and collectors praised the Fair’s maturity and highlighted it as a vital platform to meet China’s growing appetite for collectable photo-based artworks.
The Fair brought together leading Chinese and international artists and was embraced by the city with a week of cultural events. Shanghai’s leading museums each presented significant photography exhibitions and held events around the Fair, including the HOW Museum, OCAT Shanghai, Fosun Foundation and Shanghai Centre for Photography.
The 2018 edition provided galleries with a dedicated platform to present their photographic artists in China. As Nick Buckley Wood from Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac comments: “PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai is important as we do not have a physical space in Asia and the Fair enables the gallery to keep a presence in China. We are not exclusively a photography gallery and PHOTOFAIRS allowed us to give specific focus to our photographers and gave room to show their breadth of work. We made new connections and I have seen many artwork collectors and curators at the fair who are not specifically focused on photography looking to broaden their collections. We were also able to strengthen our relationships with Shanghai museums.”
Key collectors and curators in attendance at PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai included: Martin Barnes (Curator, Victoria & Albert Museum), Michael Chen (art advisor, Sunpride Foundation, Taipei), Thomas Dukes (curator, Open Eye, Liverpool), Stephan Erfurt (CEP, C/O Berlin Museum), Lin Han & Wanwan (M Wood Museum), Zheng Hao (collector/Founder HOW Art Museum), Wang Jun (Founder, The Light Society), Jiyoon Lee (curator & Managing Director, Suum Projects, Seoul), HS Liu (Founder, Shanghai Center of Photography), Lance Liu (Deputy Director, Shanghai Minsheng Museum), Mark Lubell (Director, International Center for Photography, New York), Marleen Molenaar (collector, Hong Kong), Christopher Phillips (curator, New York), Anouska Phizacklea (Director, Monash Gallery, Melbourne), Lawrence Ross (collector / Museum of Photography, Chicago), Andrew Ruff (collector / founder 166 Space, Shanghai), Claire Shea (Deputy Director, Para-Site, Hong Kong), Karen Smith (Artistic Director, Shanghai Center of Photography), Douglas So (collector / Founder, F11 Museum, Hong Kong), Lindsay Taylor (curator, University of Salford Art Collection), Jenny Wang (Director, Fosun Foundation), Susan Van Wyck (curator, National Gallery of Victoria) Jay Xu (Director Asian Art Museum San Francisco) and Lu Xun (Sifang Museum).
On his experience of the fair, Christopher Phillips comments: “I thought the fifth edition of PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai was significant for its greater emphasis on galleries and artists from the Asia-Pacific region. For fair visitors coming from abroad, this meant a chance to see top-quality material that seldom appears in European or American fairs. There was a particularly strong presence of Japanese galleries that presented work by a wide range of established and emerging photographers. It was a concentrated display of museum-quality works that would be unlikely to be seen at any other photo fair.”
Martin Barnes adds: “PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai is a lively fair in a beautiful building in one of the world’s most dynamic cities. It is a place to immerse yourself in the cross-cultural dialogues surrounding creative photography, to discover some of the best Asian image-makers, and to make new colleagues and friends.”
PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai, with Presenting Partner Porsche, is renowned for its selection of galleries who each push the boundaries of photography. Audiences enjoyed large-scale installations, moving image and new technologies, alongside works by the masters of photography. Over 80% of the Fair’s 55 leading dealers hailed from Asia Pacific, and the support of local talent was further celebrated with a strong focus on artists from Japan and Korea across both galleries and the public program.
Georgia Griffiths, PHOTOFAIRS Group Fair Director, comments: “Since launching in 2014, we have witnessed a widening embrace of the photographic medium in China – four major museums dedicated to photography have opened and photography exhibitions in China have increased 250%. Photography is a dynamic and progressive medium and we believe it is key for the future of the Chinese art market, now the second largest market in the world. I am delighted that we have been able to offer both Chinese and international collectors a true site of discovery, and a genuine platform for Asia Pacific galleries to be seen on a global stage. I now look forward to the next five years of PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai.”
PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai will return September 20-22, 2019 and its San Francisco edition takes place February 7-9, 2020.
More information: www.photofairs.org