Since 2015, Les Rencontres d’Arles travel to China with the Jimei x Arles International Photography Festival in Xiamen! Each Winter, Jimei x Arles shows 8 exhibitions coming from Rencontres d’Arles alongside 20 Chinese and Asian photography exhibitions – with a focus on India this year. The festival also promotes Chinese talents on an international scale, with its Discovery Award, shown in Arles every year.
Co-created in 2015 by Chinese pioneer photographer RongRong (also the founder of China’s first ever photography museum Three Shadows Photography Art Centre) and Sam Stourdzé, the director of the world’s most important international photo festival, Rencontres d’Arles (France), Jimei x Arles has become a must-see event for photo lovers in China in just three years, and attracted more than 230,000 visitors (70,000 in 2018). Co-produced by Three Shadows Photography Art Centre and Xiamen’s Jimei District local authorities, the festival’s art direction is ensured by Bérénice Angremy and Victoria Jonathan, co-founders of art & culture agency Doors.
During his first official visit to China in January 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron recognized Jimei x Arles festival as an example of Sino-French cultural cooperation. The festival takes place in Xiamen, formerly known as Amoy, a coastal city that has been an important port for centuries. Located across the Taiwan strait, famous for the colonial era Gulangyu island, it is a vibrant and modern city that is also the home of China’s independent fashion scene.
Every year, a selection of exhibitions from Rencontres d’Arles travel to China. After Joel Meyerowitz, René Burri, Toilet Paper Magazine, Matthieu Gafsou, Mathieu Pernot, and Paolo Woods and Gabriele Galimberti, in 2019 Jimei x Arles will exhibit:
- Tom Wood, « Mothers, daughters, sisters »
- “Restless Bodies - East German Photography, 1980-1989”
- Evangelia Kranioti, “The Living, The Dead, and Those at Sea”
- Clergue & Weston, “First Show, First Works”
- The Anonymous Project, “The House”
- “On Earth - Imaging, Technology and the Natural World”
- An exhibition of the New Discovery Award
- The publications selected for the Book Award
Twenty other exhibitions will showcase the dynamism of the Chinese and Asian photography scenes. After Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and South Korea, in 2019 Jimei x Arles will dedicate a section of the festival to Indian photography.
Since its outset, the festival has been a platform for new Chinese photography. Every year, ten talents are nominated for the Jimei x Arles Discovery Award. The winner will receive 200,000 RMB (25,000 Euros) and an exhibition at the prestigious Rencontres d’Arles the following summer. After Feng Li in 2017, the prize was awarded to Lei Lei, whose exhibition “Romance in Lushan Cinema” can be watched this summer in Rencontres d’Arles. Produced from black and white amateur photographs found in markets, postcards, and propaganda images from the Mao era, or from screen captions of the movie “Romance on Lushan Mountain” (first love movie produced after the Cultural Revolution in China, in 1980), from photos found on the internet, Lei Lei created a video collage blending collective and individual memory.
Rencontres d’Arles also chose to show Pixy Liao’s exhibition (“Experimental Relationship”), nominated for the Jimei x Arles 2018 Discovery Award and winner of the festival’s award dedicated to Chinese women photographers (2018 winner Guo Yingguang had exposed her work “The Bliss of Conformity” at Arles last summer, and was shown at the MEP-Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris last spring). Pixy Liao is representative of a new generation of experimenting artists, exploring the possibilities of portrait and photography. In her series that she started in 2007, she features herself and her Japanese boyfriend, Moro, in order to defy the usual representations of the heterosexual relationships and the China-Japan relation.
In 2019, the Discovery Award artists are nominated by 5 Chinese curators: Cai Liyuan (A4 Contemporary Art Museum, Chengdu), Han Xinyi (Salt Projects), Shi Hantao (independent, coordinator of the last Shanghai Biennale), Song Zhenxi (independent), Wang Huan (independent, Jiazazhi magazine regular collaborator).
See the 2018 nominees and the description of the Discovery Award here.
The complete program of the festival will be announced in September. The Jimei x Arles festival is supported by the French embassy in China.
• Jimei x Arles at Rencontres d’Arles 2019
July 1st – September 22nd 2019
Lei Lei, « Romance in Lushan Cinema », Les Forges.
Curators: Bérénice Angremy and Victoria Jonathan More info
Pixy Liao, « Experimental Relationship», Croisière.
Curator: Holly Roussell More info
• 5th edition of Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival in Xiamen
November 22nd 2019 – January 5th 2020
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