November 26, 2021 — January 3, 2022
Xiamen, China

The Seventh Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival will open in Xiamen on November 26, 2021, and run until January 3, 2022.

The Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival was co-founded in Xiamen's Jimei District in 2015, and it is jointly organized by Three Shadows Photography Art Centre and Tianxia Jimei Media. Since its founding, Jimei x Arles has presented more than 200 exhibitions from China and the rest of Asia, as well as a selection of excellent shows from Les Rencontres d'Arles. To date, the festival has attracted 350,000 visitors.

For this edition of Jimei x Arles, Christoph Wiesner, director of Les Rencontres d'Arles, and RongRong, Chinese contemporary photographer and co-founder of Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, will serve as Co-Directors, with noted photography critic Gu Zheng serving as Art Director. This year's festival will present 25 exhibitions featuring more than 50 artists from France, Singapore, Brazil, the Czech Republic, mainland China, and elsewhere, including four brilliant exhibitions from Les Rencontres d'Arles, ten Discovery Award exhibitions highlighting young Chinese photographers, three Greetings from Singapore exhibitions, one China Pulse exhibition presenting how photography developed at one Chinese art academy, three Crossover Photography exhibitions, one Tribute exhibition, one Collector's Tale exhibition, and two Local Action exhibitions showcasing Xiamen.

The exhibitions will be primarily presented in the Jimei Citizen Square Main Exhibition Hall and the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre Xiamen, as well as other sites across the island of Xiamen. During the opening weekend (November 26 to 28) and the entire run of the festival, art lovers and the general public will be able to enjoy events such as the opening ceremony, the award ceremony, portfolio reviews, lectures, guided tours, performances, screenings, workshops, and learning excursions.

From 18th September to 31st October 2021, Three Shadows Photography Art Centre has partnered with Modern Media Group to host a group show for past Jimei x Arles award winners at ZiWU in Shanghai, "Rediscovery: A Selection of Jimei x Arles Awards". We look forward to once again showcasing the talented artists from Jimei x Arles' past editions.

Exhibitions from Arles
Les Rencontres d’Arles has relaunched after the pandemic, and Jimei x Arles will receive four exhibitions from this year’s Les Rencontres d’Arles to show in China. From Arles’ Rereading section, “Orient-Express & Cie: Between History and Mythology” (Curator: Arthur Mettetal & .va Gravayat) showcases beautiful archival documentation surrounding the world’s
first international luxury train, which traveled between Paris and Istanbul, through pictures, maps, design drawings, and flyers. From the Louis Roederer Discovery Award section, Ilanit Illouz’s “Wadi Qelt,in the Stony Light” (Curator: Sonia Voss) is a study of natural elements, revealing both threatened ecosystems and contemplative natural landscapes. Also from the Discovery Award section, Marie Tomanova’s “It Was Once My Universe” (Curator: Sonia Voss) tells the autobiographical story of her return to her hometown, once a place of refuge, after ten years away, and how she began to explore fractured time and memories. As always, Jimei x Arles is delighted to present the 2021 Arles Book Award exhibition.

Jimei x Arles Discovery Award
Every year, the Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival invites five curators to nominate ten talented ethnically Chinese photographers. All ten photographers present solo shows at the festival, and the winner is announced during the opening week. The winner receives a 100,000 RMB (pre-tax) cash prize and an invitation to present a solo show at Les Rencontres d’Arles the following year. The 2021 nominees are Liu Yue and Cedar Zhou (nominated by Chen Xiao), Zong Ning and Wang Yimo (nominated by He Guiyan), Xu Guanyu and Amiko Li (nominated by Li Jia), Tao Hui and Tant Zhong (nominated by Miao Zijin), and Guo Guozhu and Zou Biyu (nominated by Zeng Han). Past winners of the Jimei x Arles Discovery Award include Sim Chi Yin (2020), Yi Lian (2019), Lei Lei (2018), Feng Li (2017), Silin Liu (2016), and Zhu Lanqing (2015). The fifth winner of the Jimei x Arles Women Photographers Award is eagerly awaited this year. Past winners include Xu Xiaoxiao (2020), Luo Yang (2019), Pixy Liao (2018), and Guo Yingguang (2017).
Greetings from Singapore
Every year, the Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival features an Asian country’s photography scene. After Japan (2020), India (2019), South Korea (2018), and Indonesia (2017), this year’s Jimei x Arles will focus on Singapore. Curated by Gretchen Liu and Wang Xin, “Crossroads: Singapore Through the Lens 1870-1940” offers valuable historical images that reflect Singapore’s transformation into a flourishing, international, multi-ethnic port city from a photographer’s perspective. “Legends: Soo Bin’s Portraits of Chinese Ink Masters” presents Chua Soo Bin’s portraits of 14 noted Chinese artists born in the early twentieth century, spanning mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Europe, and the United States.“The Natural History of an Island,” curated by Gwen Lee, Founding Director of the DECK photography Gallery, showcases photographs, archives, installations, and films from Singaporean artists, which reveal Singapore’s history and explore its past and present narratives (Artists: Ang Song Nian, Marvin Tang, Geraldine Kang, Chow & Lin, Zhao Renhui, Syahrul Anuar, John Clang, Kevin W Y Lee).

China Pulse
Each year, the China Pulse section partners with an art academy in China to showcase new forces in Chinese photography. This year’s exhibition, “The Photography Is Not What’s Important: Photography at the Central Academy of Fine Arts,” is in collaboration with the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA). Curated by Cao Qinghui and Cai Meng, the show describes the development of photography at CAFA, and through five sections entitled “The Medium Is Not What’s Important,” “The Major Is Not What’s Important,” “The Point of View Is Not What’s Important,” “The Exhibition Is Not What’s Important,” and “The Photography Is Not What’s Important,” the exhibition reflects on and discusses these subjects, while recognizing their importance.

Crossover Photography
Crossover Photography presents the multiple crossover possibilities of photography, engaging with different media (printing, video, digital art, and installation) and diverse cultures. This year’s section features the poet Bei Dao, the painter and CAFA professor Liu Xiaodong, and the contemporary artist Zhao Bandi. Curated by Shen Yi, “Double Shadows” presents photographs by Bei Dao, one of China’s most important contemporary poets. Bei Dao began creating photography and poetry around the same time; photography became another way for him to observe the world. After a serious illness nearly ended his writing career several years ago, Bei Dao turned to photography as another expressive medium. Shen Yi notes, “Photography became a new body that Bei Dao could imbue with language. With a poet’s instinct and astonishing will, Bei Dao attempts to free himself from language suspended between life and death.” “Childhood Friends Getting Fat — Liu Xiaodong’s Photographs” presents photographs that Liu Xiaodong has taken over several decades. For Liu, photography is a way to record life and immediately capture a specific atmosphere. In “Xiamen: Zhao Bandi’s Hut” (Curator: Du Xiyun), Zhao Bandi’s Hut is an extension of his Party series of performances; the series is like a ship of art sailing far from reality, which allows people to gather, share their limited time together.

This section launched last year, and for this year’s edition, Cai Tao, an associate professor in the School of Arts and Humanities at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, has curated “An Instantaneous Torrent: Sha Fei and China at War.” The show pays homage to Sha Fei (born Situ Chuan), an important figure in the history of modern photography in China. Sha Fei was not satisfied with his professional career as a photojournalist; he also had more personal pursuits. He took important portraits of Lu Xun and Henry Norman Bethune, but he also used his camera to capture life on base and trained his keen eye on the scenes and spirit of China during wartime.

Local Action
These shows are designed to explore the connection between photography and Fujian, where Jimei x Arles is held. “The Infinite Party” is an all-new audio-visual experience planned by N-APE, a young cultural experience brand in Xiamen, and ten of China’s most famous and avant-garde clubs. Connected by elements of a club night, the experience will bring together multi-media installations and video works to build a mysterious, multi-dimensional space. In “Venice Canal Grande across Minfaland” DEVOLUTION, an open art institution, turns its attention to Minfaland Commercial Plaza, a mixed-use commercial space, and the small shops and entertainment businesses that call it home. Based on illusory visions of Venice, DEVOLUTION connects urban architecture with different artistic mediums, re-creating urban landscapes from the various real spaces of Mingfa Commercial Plaza.
  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture