Lianzhou Museum of Photography

Lianzhou Foto Festival

2019 Programme


August 31 - November 8, 2019

Exhibitions: Haley Morris Cafiero : The Visible Woman

                    Ruben Martin de Lucas : Stupid Borders

                    Wang Yishu : Burning Sun

                    Zhao Qian : A Field Guide


November 30, 2019 - April 5, 2020

Opening Ceremony : November 29, 2019

Exhibitions: Sukanya Ghosh : Repairing the Work of Time

                   Denis Darzacq

                   Birdhead: Welcome to Birdhead World Again / 2019 / Lianzhou

                   Zhang Xiao : Apple


A Chance for the Unpredictable

November 30, 2019 - January, 3 2019

Opening Ceremony : November 29, 2019

The year 2019 marks the fifteenth year of Lianzhou’s photographic journey. In fifteen years, the festival has gained international recognition as the most professional photography festival in

China. Since 2017 this ambition has been taken on by the Lianzhou Museum of Photography that opened in the city’s historical centre, granting China its first public institution devoted to the medium.

This year we commemorate this anniversary with a series of exhibitions and public programmes.

In fall the LMP will celebrate new talents with exhibitions from Chinese, American and Spanish emerging photographers. Meanwhile the theme of Lianzhou Foto festival’s fifteenth edition

‘A Chance for the Unpredictable’ will pay homage to photography’s practice and malpractice with an international theme exhibition under the curatorship of Peter Pfrunder. Alongside the theme exhibition will be over 50 solo and group shows presenting local and overseas talents. The festival opening on November 29 will coincide with the unveiling of LMP’s four winter exhibitions. During the opening week, Lianzhou will become a platform for discussion for Chinese and international photographers, curators, journalists, academics and enthusiasts.

2005-2019 - Lianzhou’s photographic journey

Lianzhou Foto Festival was founded fifteen years ago in Lianzhou, a mountain town in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. Each year, Chinese and international photography lovers gather to participate in a curated program of discussions, portfolio reviews and audiovisual events. Tens of thousands of visitors attend over sixty exhibitions showcasing  photographers from all over the world in refurbished industrial spaces.  In fifteen years,  the festival has  gained international  recognition  as  the most professional  photography festival in China. It has been instrumental  in working towards the institutionalization  of photography in  China offering the platform it lacked for exhibition, exchange and discussion around the medium. Each year Lianzhou Foto strives to push the bounderies of photography exhibitions, showcasing experimental work beyond traditional documentary practice. During every edition the punctum award celebrates the most challenging new talents and discoveries elected by a jury of experts in the field.

Lianzhou Foto has been instrumental in bringing forward local emerging talents on the international

scene. The festival featured among many other Chinese photographers : Zhang Hui, Ren Hang, Zhang Haier, Feng Li, Lu Guang, Liu Bolin, Wang Qingsong, Zhang Dali, Adou, Li Zhengde, Yan Ming and Wang Ningde.

Over the years it has introduced established and emerging artists to the local public providing a panoramic view of what is going on in photography. In its fifteen years, the festival showcased among others the work of Joan Fontcuberta, Michael Wolf, Daido Moriyama, Juno Calypso, Jean Baudrillard, Martin Parr, Mathieu Pernot, Araki Nobuyoshi and Mohamed Bourouissa.

Lianzhou Foto Festival 2019

Fifteenth Edition

A Chance for the Unpredictable

This year we invited Swiss Foundation for Photography Director Peter Pfrunder to collaborate to Lianzhou Foto’s fifteenth edition. To celebrate this anniversary edition, the theme chosen by our guest curator is an hommage to photography, its practice and malpractice. The local and international artists to be featured in the theme exhibition exploring the uncontrollable aspects and the unpredictable elements that leave their traces on the photographic image.

Photography  is closely  linked to the idea of control, it  is often about carefully composing images, adjusting camera settings, staging simulation of reality in the studio in an attempt to ward off the unexpected. In contrast the photographers featured in the theme exhibition explore the tension between controlling the image and capturing the unexpected, between conscious perception and the unseen. Their work embrace the uncontrollable unpredictable happenings as part of the beauty, the poetry and the magic of photography.

The series ‘Trapped’ by Swiss artist Alex Hanimann is based on snapshots of animals, mostly taken at night by automatically triggered ‘camera traps’. The work of Chinese artist duo Liu Ke and Huang Huang, who have been systematically taking each other’s picture, is an ode to indirect portraiture, the uncontrollable ways you appear in the partner’s eye behind the camera. The unpredictability of human activity is also at the center of Japanese photographer Hayahisa Tomiyasu’s work (JPN) guides in a more personal way the self portraits on edge of Korean photographer Jun Ahn (KOR), The ‘Happenstance Generator’ of the British Artist Clare Strand (UK) is a wonderful metaphor that makes the universe of images appear as a result of uncontrollable and unpredictable processes. A growing number of artists also experiment with the materiality of photography: they expose their analogue films or prints to physical and chemical influences, so that the transformation of the image becomes part of the final work. In this way, Delio Jasse (ANG) explores the link between memory and the latent image and artists like Ester Vonplon (CH), Seba Kurtis (ARG) or Anna Niskanen (FIN) manage to visualize an invisible reality and to open a window for the unconscious.

‘A Chance for the Unpredictable’ is a fascinating topic with many options for subtle comments on the current state of our world – it is implicitly political by focusing on a genuinely photographic subject. And we need it more than ever as an antidote to rationality, efficiency and predictability.

Artists to be featured in the theme exhibition are among others : Huang Huang (China), Liu Ke (China), Lukas Felzmann (Swiss), Hayahisa Tomiyasu (Japan), Anna Niskanen (Finland), Collectif Fact (UK), Delio Jasse (Angola), Kurt Caviezel (Swiss), Jenny Rova (Sweden), Clément Lambelet (Swiss), Jun Ahn (Korea), Seba Kurtis (Argentina), Clare Strand (UK), Jules Spinatsch (Swiss), Ester Vonplon (Swiss)

Festival Highlights

Along the Theme Exhibition, the fifteenth edition of Lianzhou Foto Festival will showcase over 50 international photographers including solo exhibitions from Chinese artists such as Chen Ronghui, Chen Zhuo, Wei Bi, Lau Chi-Chung, Doreen Chan, Zhang Yunmin, Kanthy Peng, Guo Yanxin, Wang Hanlin, Liang Yinfei, Oyun_erdene and many more.

Like each year, we will also invite guest curators to present group exhibitions as part of our programme.

MoCP Chicago Director Natasha Egan, will curate ‘Living Mountains’ a group show presenting the work of American women photographers exploring Man’s relationship with Nature. The exhibition will showcase the work of artists Penelope Umbrico, Alice Hargrave, Beth Dow, Jin Lee, Millee Tibbs and Abbey Hepner.

On November 29  and the following days, we will celebrate the start of the anniversary edition and the unveiling of LMP’s winter exhibitions with a curated programme of discussions, portfolio reviews and audiovisual events


Fall Exhibitions

This fall the LMP will celebrate new talents with exhibitions from Chinese, American and Spanish emerging photographers.

American photographer Haley Morris-Cafiero is part performer, part artist, part provocateur, part spectator. She explores the act of reflection in her photography. As an ex-anorexic with a high BMI, she is subject to jokes and hate speech. She collects them. Her work is set up so that she only discovers the multitude of judgements and acts that brand her after the fact.

Rubén Martín de Lucas develops a body of work focusing on what the Spanish artist calls: ‘landscape and associated behavior’. Under this heading there is a discursive line that questions the behavior of humanity and its links with the territory studying aspects such as the artificial character of the borders and the liquid nature of the concept of nation.

Zhao Qian is a visual artist living in San Francisco and Shanghai. He focuses on human activities and the environment around him. His work explores the territories of contemporary visual culture and daily life, mapping a field guide to navigate the blurred lines between experience and imagination.

Wang Yishu, who lives and works in Zhejiang and Shanghai, once worked as one of the top photojournalists in Chinese media. This allowed him to travel across China, from metropolitan cities to remote villages, capturing images along the way. While the media’s focus was on pursuing clear stories with affecting narratives and striking effects, Yishu’s interest lay in exploring ordinary situations and how they conveyed the complexities of human existence.


Winter Exhibitions

This winter, the LMP will present four new exhibitions showcasing the works of Chinese and overseas artists.

The practice of Indian artist Sukanya Ghosh is located within the range of painting, photography, animation and film, exploring the possibilities between still and moving images. She uses found images and appropriates them through engraving, drawing, visual and sound collage. The resulting souvenir scrapbook recounts the history of a nation interwoven with personal memories. 

A constant in the work of French artist Denis Darzacq is his way of making a remarkable object from nothing, taking everyday materials of no great importance and bringing them together to create emotional, ageless objects with multiple references. Photography injects life, fueled by its energy. The innocuous becomes a work of art.

As the main industry in Zhang Xiao’s hometown, apples are cultivated in every family, and most people’s life revolves around apples. In this exhibition, Zhang Xiao continues to meditate on the experience and reality of his hometown Yantai. He intertwines the complicated treads through the apple, a specific object closely related to the local people, and presents the rural status quo in China under the background of apple industrialization.

Birdhead: Welcome to Birdhead World Again/2019/Lianzhou re-invites the audience to enter the "Birdhead World". Since their first exhibition in Lianzhou in 2005, Birdhead has become one of the most elusive artists in China. Their unbounded exploration of creative materials and unrestrained production have forged an astronomical matrix of images from which the practice of oriental approaches is probed into.

LMP Exhibitions Credits

Exhibitions were organized by the Lianzhou Museum of Photography (LMP).

Curators:  Duan Yuting (Wang Yishu, Zhao Qian, Birdhead, Zhang Xiao) ; Francois Cheval and Audrey Hoareau (Haley Morris Cafiero, Ruben Martin de Lucas, Sukanya Ghosh, Denis Darzacq).

Lianzhou Foto Festival Exhibitions Credits

Exhibitions were organized by the Lianzhou Foto Festival

Chief Curators for the Theme Exhibition : Peter Pfrunder, Duan Yuting

Group Exhibition ‘Living Mountains’ Curator : Natasha Egan

International press contact

Catherine Philippot - Relations Media

Prune Philippot - Relations Media

01 40 47 63 42

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