PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai to Return in November 2021

PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai is set to return this year as it unveils its final exhibitor line-up; presentation highlights including Shanghai Century: Shanghai Spirit, an exhibition by Presenting Partner Porsche in collaboration with the Shanghai Center of Photography; and new details of its talks programme, Conversations.

PHOTOFAIRS is Asia Pacific’s leading destination for discovering and collecting photo-based works. In excess of 50 exhibitors are taking part in the fair’s seventh edition, returning to the Shanghai Exhibition Center this November. This year’s edition seeks to further support and uplift artists and galleries from across China by showcasing the extraordinary breadth and diversity of the local scene.

Matt Liao,柏拉图的洞穴-游客计划 百花大教堂, 2017.

Shanghai Century: Shanghai Spirit

Shanghai Century: Shanghai Spirit, celebrates the dynamic spirit of Shanghai – China’s gateway to the world. Featuring images from the photobook Shanghai: A History in Photographs, 1840 to Today (by Liu Heung Shing and Karen Smith, 2010), the exhibition presents a great diversity of photographic viewpoints of life in the buzzing metropolis, from the humble to the elegant, from the intimacy of the lilongs, to the grandeur of its public facades.

Wang Bing, Tie Xi Qu, 1999

A new series of images, including a brand-new commission of photographs by Liu Heung Shing, bring this portrait of a city up to date, further underlining its remarkable transformation over the centuries and its current status as a global hub for finance, industry, fashion, and culture.

The exhibition, curated by Liu Heung Shing, Founder and Director of Shanghai Center of Photography and Karen Smith Artistic Director of Shanghai Centre of Photography and Director of OCAT Xi’an, marks Porsche’s 20th anniversary in China.

Liu Heung Shing and Karen Smith said “The arts are one of the means by which the world now comes to Shanghai. We feel privileged to be invited to work with Porsche to present ‘Shanghai Century: Shanghai Spirit‘ and in celebration of its dynamic host city. Shanghai has a long and rich history, evidenced in its European architecture and leafy shaded boulevards, and the major events that have shaped its perimeters and urban center, forging its distinctive cultural identity. We hope that local audiences will be as delighted by this display of images of their city as we were in having the opportunity to search them out and bring them together.”

Wang Bing, 遗存的影像—-铁西区, 2001

Other Special Exhibitions include: Shanghai Aura: Photography of the Republic of China in Shanghai curated by Gu Zheng and presented by Sungari Auction; Almost Perfect, a solo exhibition of work by the artist Xiang Sun co-organised by Branding Shanghai and artnow, curated by Dr. Shen Qilan and supported by CHANEL. As the Associate Partner, Branding Shanghai also presents HOME·TOWN, a solo exhibition of work by the artist Kim Ye; Yueheng Duan’s Magical Realism presented by Camera and Lens Partner SIGMA, and Beauty Ahead Of Time presented by Official Cooperation Partner HELENA RUBINSTEIN, a dual exhibition presenting Luc Fournol’s solo show Audrey Hepburn and the HR Museum Collection.

Gallery Highlights

Galleries contributing this year display a mix of local and international talents in two strands: Main and SOLO, a new section featuring galleries with a single artist presentation. In the Main section returning galleries include Matthew Liu Fine Arts (Shanghai) showing Yang Yongliang, Thomas Canto, Candida Höfer, and Vik Muniz; ShanghART Gallery (Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore) with a presentation of Jiang Pengyi; and Three Shadows +3 Gallery (Beijing, Xiamen) with RongRong & inri and Koo Bohnchang. Also returning are AIKE (Shanghai); M Art Center (Shanghai); and Gaotai Gallery (Urumqi), among others. New to Main this year are: Magician Space (Beijing) with a solo presentation of Shi Guowei; WEST GALLERY (Lanzhou) exhibiting Wang Bing and X Contemporary Art (Changsha). Participating galleries in SOLO include HdM GALLERY (Beijing, London) with a new series by Hu Weiyi, titled The dust now inhaled was once a house; Jason Shin (Seoul) exhibits Ina Jang’s series of works Radiator Theatre and V&E ART (Paris, Taipei) presents the work of French artist Thomas Devaux.

Thomas Canto, Void never stops falling, 2020, Matthew Liu Fine Arts.

Public Programme Highlights

Spotlight: focuses on a specific series or theme in the work of renowned artists whose practice bears a particular relevance and importance to contemporary photography. Hu Jieming, a pioneer of digital media and video installation in China, presents a brand new series of photographs titled The Things. Conceived during a period of isolation, the work finds the artist redirecting his gaze to his everyday surroundings and reflecting on the symbiotic relationship between people and quotidian objects.

Exposure Award: provides a complimentary exhibition platform to any gallery with a solo presentation of experimental work by an artist pushing the boundaries of photography. This year’s recipient is Cao Shu (Hive Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing) for his interactive installation Roam Simulator. Set up as a video game the work takes audiences on a journey through a desert town to explore a person’s life, history, and memory.

Insights: Imaging Our Futures is a thematic group exhibition featuring 12 international artists and collectives whose work envisions humanity’s future in digitally constructed images. Curated by He Yining, the exhibition covers a range of pertinent topics from journalism, advertising, and consumerism, to our relationship with nature and space exploration.

Not for Profit: a new initiative aimed at highlighting the role of museums and organisations in cultivating and advancing photographic culture in China. Museums taking part include Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai); UCCA Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing, Shanghai, Qinhuangdao) and the Strategic Partnership of Chinese Photography Museums; an alliance between Three Shadows Photography Art Center (Beijing, Xiamen); Chengdu Contemporary Image Museum (Chengdu); Xie Zilong Photography Museum (Changsha); and Shanghai Center of Photography (Shanghai), among others.


Along with this year’s public programme and new exhibitor sections is a dynamic talks programme featuring key artists, curators, and thinkers. This includes conversations with Wang Bing & Yang Fudong, Fang Di, Ma Hailun and Hu Jieming.

PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai is Asia Pacific’s leading destination for discovering and collecting photo-based works
3rd-6th November 2021
Shanghai Exhibition Center

For more information and a full list of exhibitors, click here.

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