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.
Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival 2019
While the Rencontres d’Arles are celebrating their 50th anniversary, China’s Jimei x Arles is celebrating it’s 5th anniversary. Since 2015, the Jimei x Arles festival has become a destination for photography fans in China and Asia. Founded by Rencontres d’Arles director Sam Stourdzé and Chinese photographer RongRong (of Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, China’s first center devoted to photography), each year, Jimei x Arles brings several exhibitions from the Rencontres d’Arles to Xiamen and produces around 20 exhibitions for Chinese and Asian photographers. French President Emmanuel Macron has lauded the festival on several occasions (his State visit to China in 2018, for one) as an example of cultural cooperation between France and China. Bérénice Angremy and Victoria Jonathan (founders of the art and culture agency Doors) have taken on direction of the festival since 2017. In 2018, the festival drew 70,000 visitors.
Xiamen, formerly Amoy, has for centuries been one of the largest ports of coastal China. Across a strait from Taiwan, known for its Gulangyu Island and architecture dating back to colonial times, Xiamen is a vibrant and modern city, home to China’s young independent fashion scene. The two main festival sites (including Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre, open year-round, with exhibitions by Araki, Daido Moriyama, and Bettina Rheims) are located in Jimei, the new business district. Since the beginning, the festival has included the Local Action program, drawing in the local creative scene and offering satellite exhibition sites, such as Xiamen’s oldest cinema, an abandoned office floor in a tower block, an artist’s village, a university...
This year Jimei x Arles will exhibit the following exhibitions from Les Rencontres d’Arles:
Tom Wood, « Mothers, daughters, sisters »
“Restless Bodies - East German Photography, 1980-1989”
Evangelia Kranioti, “The Living, The Dead, and Those at Sea”
Clergue & Weston, “First Show, First Works”
The Anonymous Project, “The House”
“On Earth - Imaging, Technology and the Natural World”
An exhibition of the New Discovery Award
The publications selected for the Book Award
Twenty other exhibitions will showcase the dynamism of the Chinese and Asian photography scenes. After Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and South Korea, in 2019 Jimei x Arles will dedicate a section of the festival to Indian photography.
Since its outset, the festival has been a platform for new Chinese photography. Every year, ten talents are nominated for the Jimei x Arles Discovery Award. The winner will receive 200,000 RMB (25,000 Euros) and an exhibition at the prestigious Rencontres d’Arles the following summer. After Feng Li in 2017, the prize was awarded to Lei Lei, whose exhibition “Romance in Lushan Cinema” can be watched this summer in Rencontres d’Arles. Rencontres d’Arles also chose to show Pixy Liao’s exhibition (“Experimental Relationship”), nominated for the Jimei x Arles 2018 Discovery Award and winner of the festival’s award dedicated to Chinese women photographers (2018 winner Guo Yingguang had exposed her work “The Bliss of Conformity” at Arles last summer, and was shown at the MEP-Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris last spring).
In 2019, the Discovery Award artists are nominated by 5 Chinese curators: Cai Liyuan (A4 Contemporary Art Museum, Chengdu), Han Xinyi (Salt Projects), Shi Hantao (independent, coordinator of the last Shanghai Biennale), Song Zhenxi (independent), Wang Huan (independent, Jiazazhi magazine regular collaborator).
The complete program of the festival will be announced in September 2019. The Jimei x Arles festival is supported by the French embassy in China.
Lianzhou Museum of Photography – Exhibition Programme 2019
The year 2019 marks the fifteenth year of Lianzhou’s photographic journey. In fifteen years, the festival has gained international recognition as the most professional photography festival in China. Since 2017 this ambition has been taken on by the Lianzhou Museum of Photography (LMP) that opened in the city’s historical centre, granting China its first public institution devoted to the medium.
« We don’t want to become part of mainstream contemporary photography” declared François Cheval (co-director of the LMP together with Duan Yuting) while clarifying the Museum’ goals. In fact, each year the programme strives to push the boundaries of photography exhibitions, showcasing experimental work beyond traditional documentary practice. Over the years it has introduced established and emerging artists to the local public providing a panoramic view of what is going on in photography.
This year the LMP commemorates this anniversary with a series of exhibitions and public programmes. In fall (August 31 – November 11) the LMP will celebrate new talents with exhibitions from Chinese, American and Spanish emerging photographers, showcasing works of Haley Morris-Cafiero, Rubén Martín de Lucas, Zhao Qian and Wang Yishu.
Meanwhile the theme of Lianzhou Foto festival’s fifteenth edition ‘A Chance for the Unpredictable’ (November 29 – January 3, 2020) will pay homage to photography’s practice and malpractice with an international theme exhibition under the curatorship of Swiss Foundation for Photography Director Peter Pfrunder. Photography is closely linked to the idea of control, it is often about carefully composing images, adjusting camera settings, staging simulation of reality in the studio in an attempt to ward off the unexpected. In contrast the photographers featured in the theme exhibition explore the tension between controlling the image and capturing the unexpected, between conscious perception and the unseen. Their works embrace the uncontrollable unpredictable happenings as part of the beauty, the poetry and the magic of photography. Artists to be featured in the theme exhibition are among others : Huang Huang (China), Liu Ke (China), Lukas Felzmann (Swiss), Hayahisa Tomiyasu (Japan), Anna Niskanen (Finland), Collectif Fact (UK), Delio Jasse (Angola), Kurt Caviezel (Swiss), Jenny Rova (Sweden), Clément Lambelet (Swiss), Jun Ahn (Korea), Seba Kurtis (Argentina), Clare Strand (UK), Jules Spinatsch (Swiss), Ester Vonplon (Swiss).
Along the Theme Exhibition, the fifteenth edition of Lianzhou Foto Festival will showcase over 50 international photographers including solo exhibitions from Chinese artists such as Chen Ronghui, Chen Zhuo, Wei Bi, Lau Chi-Chung, Doreen Chan, Zhang Yunmin, Kanthy Peng, Guo Yanxin, Wang Hanlin, Liang Yinfei, Oyun_erdene and many more. Like each year, we will also invite guest curators to present group exhibitions as part of our programme. MoCP Chicago Director Natasha Egan, will curate ‘Living Mountains’ a group show presenting the work of American women photographers exploring Man’s relationship with Nature. The exhibition will showcase the work of artists Penelope Umbrico, Alice Hargrave, Beth Dow, Jin Lee, Millee Tibbs and Abbey Hepner.
Finally, the winter exhibitions (November 30 – April 5, 2020) will present four new exhibitions showcasing the works of Chinese and overseas artists: Indian artist Sukanya Ghosh, French artist Denis Darzacq, and Chinese artists Zhang Xiao and Birdhead.
Thanks to its rich cultural programme, Lianzhou will become a platform for discussion for Chinese and international photographers, curators, journalists, academics and enthusiasts.