It is my great pleasure to introduce a guest contributor, photographer and blogger Doug Stockdale [Singular Images], who is now in China. He provides in this post a very interesting snapshot of his experience while visiting the fine art scene in Sanghai, at the heart of the M50 district, where modern art and fine art photography is flourishing. It is good to learn more about this amazing country and get a first hand experience on how fine art photography is getting momentum there.
Contemporary Photography is alive and flourishing in Shanghai China.
While on another assignment in China, I had the opportunity to go into Shanghai this last weekend and spend time in the M50 district, Shanghai’s version of NCY’s SoHo. This is also the location of the four active photography galleries of Shanghai
There is also a fifth gallery, 1918 Artspace which will occasionally include photography and is about a 6 minute Taxi from the M50 district.
You will immediately know that you are in the region of the M50 district, located at 50 MoGanShan Road, by the presence of street art and graffiti, of which you see very little of in greater Shanghai.
Two of the photography galleries had opening exhibits last weekend, one had a continuation of an existing exhibit and the fourth was a standing exhibit of the gallery’s artist. With the exception of the last gallery, ArtSea, the other three were spacious, well lit and a pleasure to walk about and view the exhibiting work. So here follows a quick rundown of the three of the five galleries of interest.
OFOTO Gallery was opening a one person exhibit (1/19 – 2/14) of Yan Xinfa, who’s beautifully printed black & white images were taken in Central China, where he lives and works. He has been continuing to document his surrounding area over the last twenty years. I had inadvertently ‘crashed’ the gallery an hour before the planned opening that evening, but providing them with a copy of LensWork magazine with my recently published series as my ‘business card’ did wonders for breaking the ice and providing an introduction. As a result, I had an hour to walk the exhibit with Yan and discuss his work. I have requested a low resolution of his image Xiaoguan 2002 for further discussion later in February.
At Epsite Epson Imaging Gallery was the opening of a one person exhibit (1/19 – 3/2) of Zeng Li, “Tale of Two Cities” which were large panorama color prints taken in Beijing and Shanghai. Yes, extremly large color images printed by a very wide Epson printer. The images were beautiful and stunning landscapes, both grand and more intimate. The close up studies were the more compelling and interesting to me, the other grand landscapes a little too documentary and without making much of a personal connection.
At M97, less than a block from the M50 group of galleries, was an extension of a previous exhibit, Lost and Found Exhibition. The two photographers exhibiting were Meng Jin and Fang Er. Fang had color and black & white images from two series, The Zoo and The Sweetest Thing, while Meng had color images from three series, Every Room is Illuminated, Will You Come? Or Shall I Go? and A Room with a View. In addition, M97 also had prints hanging of other artist that they represent. All in all, it is a kaleidoscope of colors, images, feelings and diverse work.
As four of the five galleries are within a couple of minutes walk of each other, with a sprinkling of other galleries, book stores and coffee shops, this is a great destination and opportunity to see the best contemporary photography in Shanghai. Oh, yes, and at this time of year, expect cold drizzly rain, turning to sleet and snow flurries and bone chilling wind. But the images you find may warm your soul and stimulate your mind.
Also of note, a lot of the Chinese photographers publish their work in softbound books which are wonderfully inexpensive, such as the one I purchased of the photographer Luo Yongjin titled About Face for 50 RMB, which is about $7.00 USD. I will write more about Luo at another time.
Best regards and currently reporting from PingHu China, Doug Stockdale