Photofairs Shanghai, Asia Pacific’s art fair dedicated to the photographic medium, opened last weekend at the Shanghai Exhibition Center for its fourth edition. Featuring 50 world-class galleries and institutions, the fair has become a platform for photography and moving image. This year’s edition was marked by the return of Chinese galleries and notable new additions with solo and group presentations across the Main and Platform sectors. It also included exhibitions with some highlights, such as a solo exhibition of cutting-edge multi-media artist Cao Fei (The Shop, Guangzhou) whose work examines the daily life of Chinese citizens post-cultural revolution; a solo presentation of Zhang Hai’er’s iconic Bad Girls series (Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong) marking a retrospective of the artist currently showing at the Shanghai Center of Photography, or an exploration of socio-political identities in a dual presentation by exciting young Chinese artists Pixy Liao and Chen Wei (Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai).
The international ethos of Photofairs was encapsulated in the Platform sector, which offers a global perspective on photography. Highlights of Platform included a live performance from emerging American artist Jordan Sullivan (RUBBER FACTORY, New York) in which he rips up and creates new work, iconic work of Irving Penn (Robert Mann Gallery, New York), following the historic retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and a timely group presentation featuring artists Taraneh Hemami, Ali Zanjani and Peyman Hooshmandzadeh (Ag Galerie, Tehran) using “found” photographs from the pre-revolution era within their work challenging traditional concepts and aesthetics of photography but also engaging with the political discourse and what it means to be displaced.
This year, the public program offered an opportunity to explore new approaches to the photographic medium through artists in conversation, exhibitions and installations. New for this year, the fair presented Spotlight; an exhibition dedicated to a leading contemporary artist. The 2017 exhibition focuses on the work of Ren Hang, the Chinese artist who died tragically young earlier this year. 19 Photos were exhibited as the first solo exhibition on an international stage since the artist’s death and included a selection of his last authenticated works. It was curated by KWM artcenter (Beijing).
The Collectors’ Exhibition, curated by Erin Barnett (Director, International Center of Photography, New York), presented a selection of artworks owned by four of China’s most influential art collectors – Adrian Cheng (K11 Art Foundation), David Chau (Cc Foundation), Jenny Jinyuan Wang (Fosun Foundation) and Thomas Shao (Modern Media Group) – each of whom has given unprecedented access to their private collections. Presented photographers included Araki Nobuyoshi, Yang Fudong, Eric Pillot, Cheng Ran and Zhang Kechun.
With other exhibitions, such as Staged, a new initiative that captures the Photofairs vision to expose and examine the relationship between photography and other art forms, conversations and other various events, this year’s edition of Shanghai Photofairs has become a world-class event.
PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai
8-10 September 2017