Sep 10 2015

Photo Shanghai 2015

by Billy Kung

After the success of its inaugural edition in 2014, the second iteration of Photo Shanghai—curated by fair director Alexander Montague-Sparey and organized by the World Photography Organization—will take place at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre from September 11­–13. Art enthusiasts and collectors will once again have the opportunity to explore works by artists from across the Asia-Pacific region, as well as internationally renowned artists from Europe and America, amid the 50 international galleries from 15 different countries.

One of the main issues addressed by Photo Shanghai is to establish a dialogue in the photographic arts between East and West by ensuring nearly half the artists represent non-Western countries. From Europe and America galleries bring the works of world renowned artists such as French master of candid photography Henri Cartier Bresson, French fashion photographer Guy Bourdin, American documentary photographer Elliot Erwitt, Candida Höfer, recognized for her technical perfection and Gustave Le Gray, hailed as the most important French photographer of the 19th century. From countries a little closer to home for those of us residing in the Asia-Pacific, expect to see Daido Moriyama, Nobuyoshi Araki and Hiroshi Sugimoto from Japan, Beijing-born cinematographer Yang Fudong, Chinese new media artist Feng Mengbo and Taiwanese photographers Chien-Chi Chang and Hsieh Chun-te, among many others.

In addition, three special program will serve to highlight the three day fair: a showcase of 156 works by American multidisciplinary artist Taryn Simon will be presented by art world giant Gagosian Gallery. Included in this large survey will be Simon’s seminal body of work “Birds of the West Indies” (2013­­–14). The title takes the name of an authoritative avian taxonomy published in 1936 by an American ornithologist James Bond. English author and naval intelligence officer, Ian Fleming, who was also an active bird-watcher and living in Jamaica at the time, would later appropriate the name for his novel’s protagonist. By taking the name and format of the original Bond’s taxonomy, Simon combines photography, text and graphic design to present an inventory of recurring elements such as women, weapons and vehicles seen in the James Bond films produced between 1962 and 2012.

COOPER & GORFER, Niza and the Animals. 2015. Courtesy Christian Larsen, Stockholm.
COOPER & GORFER, Niza and the Animals. 2015. Courtesy Christian Larsen, Stockholm.

The second special program will be the debut of a new work by Chinese artist Li Wei. Fly Me to the Moon (2015) will be a performance in which Li, together with France-based Taiwanese artist Bonnie Tchien Hwen-ying, will fly above the forecourt of the Shanghai Exhibition Centre to create gravity defying photography. Meanwhile, in the fair’s dedicated video room, works from established and emerging artists using video as their main media will be presented under the curatorial direction of artist and professor Zhang Peili, as the third and final special program.

Finally, in this year’s edition, Photo Shanghai has added a lineup of artist profiles in their talks program, to be presented in the format of a dialogue between artist and an arts practitioner. Among those invited to partake and share their career highlights include artists such as Magnum photographer Jacob Aue Sobol, Japanese artistic duo Yuki Onodera and Aki Lumi, Chien-Chi Chang from Taiwan and Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf. All in all, Photo Shanghai promises to be an important event in contextualizing the role of fine art photography within the contemporary art world in the eyes of art enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Billy Kung is photo editor at ArtAsiaPacific.