A growing audience
Over 60,000 people went to the Jimei x Arles festival in the winter of 2018. Among the 40 exhibitions and 250 artists were Joel Meyerowitz (USA), Wang Wusheng (China), Mathieu Pernot (France) and Audrey Tautou (France) ; collective exhibitions of 66 Iranian photographers, Blank Paper (Spain), Ruang MES 56 (Indonesia) ; 18 exhibitions demonstrating the vitality of the Chinese photography scene, of which 10 artists were nominated for the Jimei x Arles Discovery Award. This season’s festival was directed by Bérénice Angremy and her Franco-Chinese cultural agency Doors, established together with Victoria Jonathan in the autumn of 2017.
Guided tours, art talks, conferences, a concert, screenings – the opening week attracted around 500 professionals and 90,000 online viewers thanks to livestreaming platforms NetEase and Zai Art.
The two main venues of the festival (one being Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre, open year-round with exhibitions by Araki, Daido Moriyama, Bettina Rheims) were located in Jimei, a new business district in north Xiamen. Since its first year, the festival has included a Local Action programme to draw in the local creative scene and offer satellite exhibition sites such as Xiamen’s oldest cinema, an abandoned office floor of a towerblock, an artist’s village, a university.
Feng Li – Winner of the Discovery Award 2017 – to Exhibit at Rencontres D’Arles in Summer 2018
The festival has made a name for itself as the best place to discover fresh young Chinese photographers. Every year, ten talents are nominated by five curators for the Discovery Award. At stake is an award of 200,000 RMB (25,000 Euros) and an exhibition at the prestigious Rencontres d’Arles.
"If there are some who practice photography as if it’s hunting, Feng Li practices it like calligraphy or early morning taichi. Just as a sportsman or musician repeats the same gesture hundreds or thousands of times, Feng Li shoots daily photos in Chengdu. Practiced at a very intuitive style of photo-taking, he prowls the city capturing human fauna in its most outlandish poses." commented artist & curator Thomas Sauvin.
Feng Li’s work was shown during the 49th Rencontres d’Arles (2 July to 23 September). A unique opportunity to be seen during the Cannes of photography, frequented by 125,000 visitors a year.
Creation of the First Chinese Award Dedicated to Chinese Female Photographers
The first Chinese award dedicated to Chinese female photographers, the Jimei x Arles - Madame Figaro China Women Photographers Award, offered its winner 50,000 RMB (6500 Euros) as well as a fashion series in the magazine. This prize, the first of its kind, was made possible thanks to Women in Motion (international programme launched in 2015 by the group Kering – Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent – to underline the contribution made by women to image-led industries).
An example of Franco-Chinese Cooperation Recognized by President Macron
During the official visit of Emmanuel Macron to Beijing, the founders of Jimei x Arles, Sam Stourdzé (director of Rencontres d’Arles) and RongRong (photographer and founder of Three Shadows Photography Art Centre), the director of the festival Bérénice Angremy and its general manager Victoria Jonathan (Doors Art & Culture Agency) met the French President at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA). « Instead of conquering the world with intelligence individually, we will be stronger if we know how to do it together (…), by multiplying cultural projects such as the Rencontres d’Arles in Xiamen, » declared Emmanuel Macron in his speech in Xi’an and his during his meeting with the press with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
By importing international photographers’ exhibitions from the biggest festival in the world to China and giving young Chinese artists a stage, and enabling the public at Rencontres d’Arles to know something of that scene, Jimei x Arles is a beautiful example of Franco-Chinese cultural cooperation.
With the support of local authorities, the two founders hope to make this the emblematic cultural event of Xiamen, with Arles seen as an example of how a small town of 50,000 inhabitants can come to entice a tide of visitors, bringing in 400 tourism-related jobs and revenue of 23 million euros in its wake.
Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival is co-produced by Xiamen’s Jimei District - Tianxia Jimei Media and Three Shadows Photography Art Centre.
Influential figures of the Chinese art world are consultants for the 2017 edition of the festival: Gu Zheng, Huang Rui, inri, Charles Jin, Juan I-Jong, Li Zhenhua, Karen Smith, Wang Huangsheng, Wang Jun.
The 2017 festival boasts the works of more than 250 artists from the United States, France, Iran, Spain, the Netherlands, Indonesia, and of course China. The festival’s aim of providing a platform for new Chinese photography has once again been re-affirmed with several exhibitions showcasing young Chinese photographers and curators.
The 40 exhibitions of 2017 Jimei x Arles attest to the diversity of photographic approaches and practices, and include:
8 exhibitions from Rencontres d’Arles 2017: Early Works by Joel Meyerowitz, Superfacial by Audrey Tautou, The Gorgans by Mathieu Pernot, Iran: Year 38 with 66 Iranian photographers, Stories of the Immediate Present by the Spanish collective Blank Paper, Retracing Our Steps, Fukushima Exclusion Zone - 2011-2016 by New Discovery Award Winners – Carlos Ayesta & Guillaume Bression (presented by Le 247 gallery), The Parallele State by New Discovery Award Nominee – Guy Martin (presented by nineteensixtyeight Gallery), The 2017 Book Awards;
3 China Pulse exhibitions curated by young Chinese curators and China photography specialists: Uncertain Traces (curated by Du Xiyun), To be an image maker (curated by He Jing), BrokenIce: 160118-170811 (curated by Ruben Lundgren);
10 Jimei x Arles Discovery Award nominees picked by five young curators: Guo Yingguang and Jiang Yuxin (curated by He Yining), Shao Wenhuan and Yu Mo (curated by Liu Tian), Deng Yun and the real (curated by Nie Xiaoyi), Yu Feifei and Siu Wai Hang(curated by Tang Zehui), Feng Li and Sun Yanchu (curated by Thomas Sauvin). The winner of the 2017 Jimei x Arles Discovery Award will be awarded a 200,000 RMB prize and an exhibition in 2018 Rencontres d’Arles. This year, the winner is Feng Li. Also, Siu Wai Hang has won the Special Mention from the jury members.
7 Local Action programs featuring Xiamen curators and artists: After the Ebb curated by Chen Wei, Visuality is the Scene of Negligence curated by Wang Qi, Lu Yanjin's Sistercurated by Huang Rui, DaSoHo Project curated by Kong Yan, City Thinking curated by Lei Yuting, Houtian Project;
3 "Greetings from Indonesia" exhibitions showcasing the vitality of contemporary Indonesian photography, with works by Oscar Motuloh and Ruang MES 56;
JIMEI x ARLES 2017 AT A GLIMPSE
25 November, 2017 - 3 January, 2018
Opening Week (November 25-28) events: exhibition tours, PhotoFolio Reviews, Photobook Station, public discussions, university lectures, Arles' Night of the Year screenings...
More than 500 guests and 90,000 online viewers in livestreaming for the Opening Weekend of the festival in Xiamen
More than 1000 media clippings (ad value: 3 million Euros)
Two internationally recognized awards: Jimei x Arles Discovery Award (winner: Feng Li) and Jimei x Arles - Madame Figaro China Women Photographers Award (winner: Guo Yingguang)