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Outside Arles

The 5th edition of Jimei x Arles just opened!

Friday afternoon, the Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival opened with an official ceremony attended by Li Ge, Chairman of the Chinese Photographers Association, Li Qinghui, Secretary of Jimei District Committee of the zCommunist Party of China, He Dongning, District Chief of Jimei District People's Government, Yin Li, Member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Vice Chairman of the China Film Association, Vice President of the China Directors Association, Xie Li, Director of China Federation of Liberal Arts Network Center, and film artist Wu Jun and Ye Jintian, as well as 25 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, London, New Delhi, Seoul, Singapore…).

With 30 exhibitions put together by festival’s art directors Berenice Angremy and Victoria Jonathan, the organizers hope that even more visitors will come to visit the festival (in 2018, the festival attracted 70,000 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… Almost 100,000 people followed the roundtables and award ceremonies live, thanks to live-streaming platforms, Zai Art and Artron.

2019 Jimei x Arles Discovery Award winner: Ask for the Moon by Yi Lian, exhibiting next year at Rencontres d’Arles

After Lei Lei (2018), Feng Li (2017), Céline Liu (2016) and Zhu Lanqing (2015), artist Yi Lian received the Jimei x Arles Discovery Award for his exhibition Ask for the Moon (curated by Cai Liyuan). Yi Lian was chosen among ten talents of Chinese photography selected by seven curators, and he will be awarded a 200,000 RMB prize and an exhibition in the 51st edition of Rencontres d’Arles in summer 2020. This year’s jury for the Discovery Award was comprised of prestigious figures in the art field: Berenice Angremy (co-director of Jimei x Arles), Philippe Chancel (photographer), Gu Changwei (film director), Matthieu Orléan (curator and exhibition director at the French Cinémathèque), RongRong (photographer, founder of Three Shadows, and co-founder of Jimei x Arles), Sam Stourdzé (director of Rencontres d’Arles, co-founder of Jimei x
Arles), Philip Tinari (director of UCCA Contemporary Art Center).

Curator Cai Liyuan interpreted Yi Lian’s work as a discussion of the relationship between images, performances and his own life experiences. « Ask for the Moon tries to answer the question of how people understand themselves as an individual. I have had the habit of documenting dreams for many years, because these segments always play in my mind like films. But all of these didn’t come out as a certain artwork, until I decided to participate in the Jimei x Arles this year. I sorted out the materials that I have worked on over the past 10 years. The abstract connection of my dreams has showed up through this approach. » said Yi Lian in an interview following the award ceremony. « A lot of his subjects are very interesting and challenging and the artistic approach and curatorial display is very convincing. The images, with these questions of dreams and memories of the past and of his own life, show a kind of imagination versus reality. » said jury member Sam Stourdzé. Another jury member of this year's Discovery Award, renowned film director Gu Changwei, found Yi Lian's work very touching, « In this era when the collective is dreaming, his work is very ‘down to earth’. Ten years in dreaming. It’s really enveloping. »

The third edition of the first women photographers award in China and congratulated by actress Mei Ting: Youth by Luo Yang       

In 2017, Jimei x Arles launched the Jimei x Arles - Women Photographers Award, honoring the work of Chinese women photographers exhibited at Jimei x Arles. Luo Yang was awarded the third Jimei x Arles Women Photographers Award, for her exhibition Youth (curated by Berenice Angremy and Victoria Jonathan). This new series of artwork follows the Girls series, which focused solely on images of women. Compared to that work, Youth involves male and female subjects. Luo Yang was chosen among eight artists, by a jury of seven members, composed by Cao Fei (artist), He Yining (curator), inri (artist), Luce Lebart (curator, historian of photography), Pushpamala N (artist), Sam Stourdzé (director of Rencontres d’Arles, co-founder of Jimei x Arles), Zeng Jian (film director).

Movie actress Mei Ting, who also attended the ceremony this year and presented the award to the winner, said of the award: « We all can feel the common characteristics females have, such as softness and inclusiveness. Where does the energy come from? I think there are two main reasons. Firstly, from the female natural characteristics as I mentioned. Secondly, women as mother, daughter, sister and wife, these changing roles make us more mindful, make us be tougher and stronger. Indeed I could feel that power while looking at a few female artists’ artworks. »

Artist Cao Fei, who was a member of the jury this year, said: « Luo Yang was considered the winner by all seven jury members. Her recent artwork Youth showed her focus has expanded to diverse gender categories of the new generation. Best wishes to her next project, I hope we can see the wave of her mind as she interprets future subjects, such as the fading-away of youth. I’m interested in seeing her develop as an artist. »

Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival will last until 5 January, 2020, showcasing 8 exhibitions from Rencontres d’Arles, 19 exhibitions of Chinese photography, 1 exhibition of masterpieces from the collection of The Museum of Photography, Seoul, 2 exhibitions of Indian photography in partnership with the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts and the Museum of Art and Photography (Bangalore).

The 5th edition of Jimei x Arles receives support from sponsors Martell, Home King and Ofmom, and from the French embassy in China.
Posted on 03.12.2019