Pho­to­graphic ex­changes

China’s first con­tem­po­rary pho­tog­ra­phy mu­seum set to open in De­cem­ber.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Art - (1995-1996). — AFP

THE Lianzhou Mu­seum of Pho­tog­ra­phy, in­tended as a cul­tural space for both lo­cal res­i­dents and in­ter­na­tional aca­demic re­searchers, will be the first in­sti­tu­tion of its kind in China.

In 2005, Lianzhou be­came the lo­cus of an in­ter­na­tional pho­tog­ra­phy fes­ti­val. Lo­cated in the north­ern Guang­dong Prov­ince (cur­rent pop­u­la­tion 510,000), the city is the re­gion's cen­tre of tourism. Over the past 12 years, the fes­ti­val has be­come a ref­er­ence for new trends in Chi­nese pho­tog­ra­phy. Its 2017 edi­tion theme was “Your Selfie Stick (And You)”.

“The orig­i­nal in­ten­tion was that, in ad­di­tion to pre­sent­ing pho­to­graphs at the fes­ti­val, we should make the ar­chive avail­able to pho­tog­ra­phy re­searchers, be­cause China did not have its own pho­tog­ra­phy mu­se­ums and it lacked the ba­sic con­di­tions for this kind of aca­demic re­search,” stated Duan Yut­ing, founder and direc­tor of Lianzhou Foto Fes­ti­val, in an of­fi­cial state­ment about start­ing a per­ma­nent in­sti­tu­tion.

The lead­ers of the Lianzhou Mu­nic­i­pal Gov­ern­ment de­cided to es­tab­lish a con­tem­po­rary pho­tog­ra­phy mu­seum there in 2013. The venue will ex­hibit and col­lect both Chi­nese and in­ter­na­tional pho­tog­ra­phy, while also de­vel­op­ing global cul­tural ex­changes. It is the first pub­lic con­tem­po­rary pho­tog­ra­phy mu­seum in the Peo­ple's Repub­lic of China.

The mu­seum broke ground in 2015 on the fringes of the Pearl River Delta, lo­cated on Lianzhou's old­est ex­tant street Zhong­shan Nan Road. Spark­ing a re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of the old cen­tre, it is de­signed to drive the eco­nomic and ur­ban devel­op­ment of the en­tire city when the mu­seum opens in early De­cem­ber of this year.

The premises were de­signed by O-of­fice Ar­chi­tects, a Guangzhoubased prac­tice es­tab­lished in 2007. The ar­chi­tec­ture is com­prised of two in­ter­lock­ing build­ings. A roof gar­den and out­door theater link the mu­seum's re­spec­tive old and new struc­tures; the space be­tween the build­ings is open to the pub­lic. The ar­chi­tects used lo­cal ma­te­ri­als unique to the area, in­clud­ing dark gravel, steel plates, light brick, and green tiles.

“The am­bi­tion of the Lianzhou Foto Fes­ti­val has al­ways been to pro­vide the pub­lic with an ed­u­ca­tion, a panoramic view of what is go­ing on in pho­tog­ra­phy,” stated mu­seum co-founder Francois Che­val, the French cu­ra­tor who headed the Musee Ni­cephore Niepce in Chalon-sur-Saone from 1996 to 2016. He em­pha­sised, “The mu­seum's strong in­ten­tion to be­come a show­case for the re­gion, and per­haps, in the end, take part in its re­def­i­ni­tion.”

Three pho­tog­ra­phers will open the space: Zhuang Hui, a key fig­ure in China's New Photo move­ment based in Bei­jing, with the series A Shad­ow­less Place; Scot­tish-born New York-based Al­bert Wat­son, known for celebrity por­traits and mag­a­zine cov­ers, with the series The Two Faces Of Janus; and Zhang Hai'er, one of the pi­o­neers of ex­per­i­men­tal Chi­nese pho­tog­ra­phy, who lives and works be­tween China and France, with the series Bad Girls. – AFP Re­laxnews

A close-up of Zhuang Hui’s One And Thirty-Worker

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