Friday afternoon, the Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival opened with an official ceremony attended by Li Qinghui, Secretary of Jimei District Committee of the Communist Party of China, He Dongning, District Chief of Jimei DistrictPeople's Government, and His Excellency Mr. Jean-Maurice Ripert, Ambassador of France in China, as well as 40 artists and 20 curators exhibiting at the festival, and 100 media, all coming from Chinese cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, ) and from around the world (Paris, New York, Los Angeles, London, Geneva, Lausanne…).
With 30 exhibitions put together by festival’s art directors Berenice Angremy and Victoria Jonathan, three different sites, and a new metro line connecting the main exhibition sites in Jimei District to Xiamen island, the organizers hope that even more visitors will come visit the festival (in 2017, the festival attracted 60,000 people). The festival kicked off with an opening weekend full of activities: roundtables, PhotoFolio reviews, exhibition tours, book signings by the artists, workshops, award ceremonies, performances and parties… 65,000 people followed the roundtables and award ceremonies live, thanks to live-streaming platforms Zai Art and Artron.
2018 Jimei x Arles Discovery Award winner: A photographer without a camera, exhibiting next year at Rencontres d’Arles
After Feng Li (2017), Céline Liu (2016) and Zhu Lanqing (2015), artist Lei Lei received the Jimei x Arles Discovery Award for his exhibition Weekend (curated by Dong Bingfeng). Lei Lei was chosen among ten talents of Chinese photography selected by five curators, and he will be awarded a 200,000 RMB prize and an exhibition in the 50th edition of Rencontres d’Arles in summer 2019. This year’s jury for the Discovery Award was comprised of prestigious figures in the art field: David Chau (entrepreneur, founder of CC Foundation, co-founder of 021 and Jing Art fairs), Gu Zheng (art historian and critic), inri (photographer and co-founder of Three Shadows), Sam Stourdzé (director of Rencontres d’Arles and co-founder of Jimei x Arles) and Philip Tinari (director of UCCA, Beijing).
« My work Weekend is a video montage of images coming from old magazines, a collage of old materials, I haven’t used any camera in the creation process. Many people must think: does it count as photography? This year’s edition of the Jimei x Arles Discovery Award has opened a new breach, the festival doesn’t consider photographers and artists as dominant authoritative figures any longer, but also genuinely turns towards the public, » said Lei Lei in an interview following the award ceremony. « This year, each member of the jury first wrote down two names. We all had different choices, but we all had Lei Lei among the two names, without any prior consultation. Although no photo equipment is used in his work, he relies mainly on image and photo collages, and shows us new, unlimited possibilities for photography, » said jury member David Chau. Curator Dong Bingfeng says of the artist he nominated for the award: « Lei Lei’s work is not at all limited to photography, rather, he gives more flexibility to image creation, in accordance with our consumption and comprehension of images nowadays. »
The second edition of the first women photographers award in China: challenging cultural and gender representations
In 2017, Jimei x Arles and Madame Figaro launched the Jimei x Arles - Madame Figaro Women Photographers Award, honoring the work of Chinese women photographers exhibited at Jimei x Arles. Pixy Liao was awarded the second Jimei x Arles - Madame Figaro Women Photographers Award, for her exhibition Experimental Relationship (curated by Holly Roussell), a long-term photo project in which she challenges conventional ideas of gender dynamics, staging self-portraits with her Japanese husband Moro. Pixy Liao was chosen among eight artists, by a jury of six members, composed by Yael Blic-Ripert (wife of the ambassador of France, legal expert and psychologist), Cai Jinqing (CEO of Kering China), Jiang Jie (professor at the Sculpture Department of CAFA), RongRong (photographer, founder of Three Shadows Photography Art Centre and co-founder of Jimei x Arles), Jean-Sébastien Stehli (deputy chief editor of Madame Figaro) and Sam Stourdzé (director of Rencontres d’Arles and co-founder of Jimei x Arles).
Movie actress and director Yu Feihong, who participated in a talk about the female gaze and women’s role in image-making held before the ceremony, said of the award: « I think that these young women’s works are very strong, very moving. This award is very important. It gives young women photographers a great platform, celebrating their art and their creativity. »
Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival will last until 2 January, 2019, showcasing 8 exhibitions from Rencontres d’Arles, 17 exhibitions of Chinese photography and 3 exhibitions of South Korean photography. Until December 15, submit your best photos of Xiamen’s culinary specialty to the Sandworm Jelly Photo Contest and get a chance to have your photo included in the Anything That Walks show curated by Ruben Lundgren and Timothy Prus! Young photographers will have an opportunity to participate in photo workshops given by artists such as Hai Jie and Feng Li every weekend during the festival.
More information and tickets: www.jimeiarles.com