PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai took place over the weekend, with over 50 galleries from 28 different cities exhibiting at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre.
A platform for photography and moving image, the 2017 edition was supported by Presenting Partner Porsche and saw over 30,000 visitors through its doors.
Established in 2014, PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai is a leading commercial platform for photography in Asia. Its fourth edition comprised of its main gallery presentation, praised this year for being both artistically focused and diverse, alongside a selection of smaller exhibitions and projects. This year proved to be its largest and most successful effort yet, with prominent collectors and curators Simon Baker (Tate Modern, London), Jefferson Hack (NOWNESS), Qiao Zhibing (Qiao Space, Shanghai) and Adrian Cheng (K11 Art Foundation, Shanghai) in attendance.
One of Asia’s most diverse presentations on photography and moving image, participating galleries included Robert Mann Gallery (New York), Magnum Photo (London) and ShanghART Gallery (Shanghai, Singapore, Beijing).
Its most international iteration to date, a highlight this year included “Staged”, a curated initiative which examines the relationship between photography and other mediums, including installation, sculpture, performance and painting. Relevant artists were spotlighted in distinct “chapters” around the fair space.
The fair also considered the historical development of colour photography through “Insights | A Color Explosion: The Rise of Contemporary Photography”, with works by internationally renowned photographers such as William Eggleston, Harry Callahan and Luigi Ghirri.
The fair was praised by leading curators and figures in the art world. “The fourth edition of PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai demonstrated a new stage of maturity,” commented curator Christopher Phillips:
The mix of Asian galleries and those from other parts of the world struck a perfect balance. The special curated exhibitions showed that Asian artists and collectors have reached a remarkably high level of sophistication. And certainly, everyone at the fair noticed the presence of leading American and European collectors and museums curators, who all seemed to be planning major acquisitions of Chinese photography.”
Similarly, Jean-François Dubos (Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris) commented on the lack of ‘déjà vu’ within the gallery presentation and the fair’s talks programme, offering visitors an opportunity to unearth “new discoveries from the contemporary Chinese art scene”.
Giving feedback to PHOTOFAIRS, most galleries unanimously agreed that the fourth edition of the art fair showed a broader scope of both the public’s appreciation for contemporary photography, and the range of collector’s attending the fair. As Magnum Photos explains,
The fair gives us a valuable platform to build and develop connections with collectors and expand our longstanding work with the Chinese market. It’s amazing how engaged people are and it feels like photography is exploding as a sector in China.
These feelings were consolidated from Georgia Griffiths, PHOTOFAIRS Group Fair Director, who spoke to Art Radar:
We are delighted to see such an enthusiastic response to our galleries and programming this year. Strong sales across the board to leading collectors and international and regional curators proves that marketing China for photography is stronger than ever. Highlights of this year’s fair included an expanded public programme with new sections of ground-breaking contemporary photography such as Staged, and special presentations of work by contemporary artists Birdhead and Liu Shiyuan.
As well as the range and calibre of artists’ work and visitor appreciation, the fair continues to attract museum curators and collectors, developing vital client bases. As Leo Xu Projects (Shanghai) explains, “Having seen the fair develop over the last three years, I am pleased to be here as it offers a very focused environment and fulfils my needs to meet a new client base.”
Blindspot Gallery from Hong Kong agreed, commenting on how this year there were many more museum professionals and curators than previous years.
- Wang Nanming appointed new Director of Shanghai Himalayas Museum – July 2017 – the Chinese critic and artist will lead the Shanghai institution after Yongwoo Lee
- “Turning Point: Contemporary Art in China since 2000” at Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum – August 2016 – exhibition explores the output of China’s art scene in the new millennium
- Preview | Photo Gallery: PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai 2016 – September 2016 – PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai leads as Asia’s most diverse and unique international art fair for photography.
- “Tell Me a Story: Locality and Narrative”: 11 stories from Asia at Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai – June 2016 – Shanghai’s Rockbund Art Museum presents 11 stories from distinct regional cultures as they have evolved throughout the modern era
- Inside Shanghai Art Week 2015 – September 2015 – Shanghai Art Week is bringing the city under the art world’s focus
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