As in previous years, PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai brings together the most significant and forward-thinking contemporary galleries engaging with the photographic medium from across China and around the world. On that occasion, we had the chance to meet Nemo Zheng – Co-founder & CBO of Brownie Art Photography – who kindly answered a few questions.
Brownie Art Photography, as the first art photography brand in China, aims at promoting avant-garde photography art culture, bringing which into everyday life as well as creating art inspired contemporary lifestyle. Located in Shanghai, it is dedicated to bringing the worldwide art photography to the new generation of collectors. With each photography, Brownie offers an exclusive certificate of authenticity and limited editions, guaranteed with museum-quality printing and framing methods. To create a comprehensive art experience for the public, Brownie also presents contemporary art gallery programs, Brownie Project, Brownie Magazines and photo books, as well as public exhibitions and crossover interactive projects.
Marine Cabos-Brullé: PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai 2019 is about to open its doors. Which artists are you going to exhibit at your booth this year?
Nemo Zheng: BROWNIE Art Photography is presenting two independent project spaces at the 2019 edition of PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai. The first one is the contemporary art gallery BROWNIE Project focused on artists who have extremely ground-breaking and experimental art concept. We are pleased to present works of four artists at this year’s PHOTOFAIRS: Patricia Waller (Germany), Julie Favreau (Canada), Guo Yingguang (China) and Fan Haoran (China).
Patricia Waller has been creating crochet art since the early 1990s and is the first European contemporary artist to use needled sculpture as a tool of satire; Combining choreography, photography, video and installation, Julie Favreau invites the viewers into a post-gender world-to-come overflowed with conation powers including intuition, erotism and touch; Taken place at the matchmaking corner at Shanghai People’s Park, Guo Yingguang’s performance and photography series The Bliss of Conformity explores marriage and self-value reality faced by educated women in today’s Chinese society. Sewing colored film and thread on black and white foreign landscape, Fan Haoran’s work focuses on the relationship between the objective world and instantaneous emotional memory. For the four artists from different geographic and cultural backdrops, photography exists in their work as a means and outcome of expression as well as an archive, witnessing their trans-media experiment based on personal life experience.
The other is a special exhibition space themed “Almost 5”, which arose from representative artworks of BROWNIE artist Adrian Samson, highlighting the color texture and object structure within. The borderline between the rough and the delicate, cold and warm, sharp and soft, restrained and candid blurs, switches, and flows with the change of perspective, to awaken our most instinctive perception of things formed during childhood. At the meantime, The embodiment of photography in lifestyle evokes our most original experience. It allows us to instinctively feel, explore and create regardless of definition, theory, and boundary. At the meantime, BROWNIE will present our new art coffee brand “Be Circle” and a series of collaborative household products.
M.C-B.: How did you get your start as a gallerist?
N.Z.：When I was 13 years old, I wanted to start a complex where all my favorite lifestyles could gather, visitors could have all kinds of fun and experience. Art has always been my passion so it was part of the plan. Later when I did start this dream space, I realized the complex model couldn't survive without considering its sustainability. So I started to learn about professional business modes, product supply chains, art world ecology, gallery profit models... And here we are -- I'm still experimenting and exploring.
M.C-B.: How have you generally discovered new artists?
N.Z.: Mostly I discovered new artists abroad through exhibitions, museums, galleries, studio visits, press, friends... All of these channels enable me to meet, to know and to have further conversation with artist who I've never seen before. Basically, there are new artists whose works excite me every single day. So I am trying to show these talents to the world and make them seen and known by more.
M.C-B.: Tell us more about Brownie’s publishing activities.
N.Z.: Running an independent publication is very challenging. It's a balance of money and human input. The project requires a small team where each member should be highly engaged. So at the moment our third magazine is a little stranded. It's mainly because we don’t want to repeat previous content, nor follow the fixed pattern. We are more concerned about how to spread new discoveries and ideas by presenting a magazine needed by our age. At the same time, I am looking for artists with more initiative and unique ideas for our photo book project.
M.C-B.: In your opinion, where shall one go to discover photography and photographers in Mainland China?
N.Z.: Three Shadows Photography Art Center, SCoP, ZiWU, Jiazazhi, etc. all have offline spaces and WeChat accounts that present exciting photography works and photographers in all dimensions to the public.
M.C-B.: What work of art would you have in your bedroom?
N.Z.: I’m not a collector. My living space is quite dull!
M.C-B.: What’s next for Brownie?
N.Z.: No spoiler. But definitely more to come! Stay tuned!