TURNING POINT – FUJIAN PHOTOGRAPHERS FROM THE 1980'S
CHEN YONGPENG, CUI JIANNAN, JIAO HONGHUI, LI SHIXIONG, WANG LUJIA, ZENG HUANG, ZHOU YUEDONG
CURATED BY FIFTY SOCIETY
The 1980s is undoubtedly one of the most significant periods in the history of China. “After (…) the Cultural Revolution (…) Chinese photographers cautiously began to explore the limits of their freedom”, as Mary Warner Marien, historian of photography, wrote in her newly published book, Photography: A Cultural History.
The seven Fujian-born photographers exhibited in Turning Point – Fujian Photographers from the 1980s selected some of their exploration-conscious works from the 1980s that reflect and review what photography was like in Fujian (and the rest of China) during the early economic period.
Turning Point – Fujian Photographers from the 1980s is a reflection on the creative status of several expressive and exploratory photographers from the 1980s. A retrospective based on original works and literature, it shows these creators’ mentality and growth paths in an era and form that is slipping away from us today.
“As contemporary visual art keeps thriving, historic photographs taken by official or non-official photographers are coming into public view. This indicates that the world’s most populous country will eventually be in the position to construct its own history of photography.”
Li Shixiong, Splendid Tranquillity, 1985
Li Shixiong, Advertising studies, 1989
Jiao Honghui, On the Gulangyu Beach, Xiamen, 1987
Wang Lujia, In the Park, Xiamen, 1987
Cui Jiannan, Nothing To Do With Each Other No.6, Jinshan, Shanxi, 1989
Zeng Huang, The Opening of the Xisiku Cathedral, Beijing
Born 1960s, Xiamen. Lives and works in Xiamen. Chen Yongpeng began his life as a photographer in the early 1980s, becoming editor of Xiamen University’s student photo newsletter. Chen was a member of the “Five Ones”, an important group of photographers during the early years of economic reform. He participated in the group's first exhibition in Hong Kong in 1987 and showed The Journey of Man as part of the Arduous Journey Photographic Exhibition in Beijing’s National Art Gallery in 1988. These are thought to be the first nude photos shown in a Chinese museum since the reform period began. His work was selected as part of Chinese Photography – 20th Century and Beyond and 40 Years of Chinese Contemporary Photography at the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre. He also won the Xiamen Federation of Literature and Art Photographic Prize.
Born 1956, Jiangxi province, China. Lives and works in Fujian province. Former president and chief editor of Fujian Pictorial, Cui Jiannan started working as a photographer in the 1980s, and had his solo exhibition Chinese Operas shown across the country, at Dali International Photography Festival, Pingyao International Photography Festival and Phoenix Photography International. He produced the large-scale documentary project Fujian River (Minjiang) in 2014.
Born 1960s, Jiangxi province. Lives and works in Fuzhou. Jiao Honghui is vice chairman of the Fujian Photographers Association. He began photographing in the early 1980s and published his frst collection in 1999. Jiao has held several solo exhibitions around Fujian. He has founded and, since 2002, has been organizing a Cross-Straits Photographers project bringing together Mainland and Taiwanese photographers. He has published 15 photo books and held exhibitions at the Pingyao International Photography Festival, the Dali International Photography Festival and in Taiwan.
Born 1960s, Xiamen. Lives and works in Xiamen.
Li Shixiong is a professor of photography at Xiamen University and a member of the Chinese Photography Association Arts Committee. He is vice chairman of the Fujian Fine Art Photography Society, committee member of the Global Chinese Photographers Society, vice chairman of the Global Fujianese Photographers Society, chairman of the Fujian Metropolitan Photographers Society, and vice president of the Fujian Photography Association.
Li was born into a photographic family and followed his father into the profession. He began shooting in the 1980s, and was to become a pioneer of conceptual photography. His works were selected for the Chinese Photography – 20th Century and Beyond at Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in 2016. He has been recognized as an outstanding contributor to Xiamen society.
Born 1957, Xiamen, China. Lives and works in Beijing.
A native of City of Xiamen by parentage, started learning photography in 1973 and graduated, in 1991, with MA in Photography from Syracuse University, USA. He covered Bosnia War and was rewarded several prizes in photo competitions, including The First Prize in Freedom Forum (U.S.) Professional Photojournalists Competition, Beijing, in 1996. He also published several books, such as a personal photo album named Life and Death in Bosnia and Herzegovia (1995), Picture Editing Handbook (2003), Photojournalism (a college textbook) (2004). His other work has included photo book editing including Collection and Investing in Photography. He exhibited at the 2003 Arles Photo Festival, the 2007 Pingyao Photo Festival, the 2007 Angkor Photo Festival and the 2016 Chinese Photography – 20th Century and Beyond at Three Shadows Photography Art Centre. He curated exhibitions including Chinese Documentary Photography at the Turn of Century, Images Across Three Centuries (2010). Zeng has also lectured in more than a dozen universities around China, participated in the founding of the Pingyao Photo Exhibition and Huachen Photo Auctions. He was nominated twice as one of the Top 30 Photographers in Chinese Photography.
The work Being Professional will show how an amateur photographer like Zeng transformed himself into a professional photographer in the 1980s, the state of non-photographic education in China, and the pictorial style that dominated the feld in the early years.
Born 1960, Fujian province. Lives and works in Fuzhou.
Zhou Yuedong started out in photography in 1980s, taking up studies at The School of Photography of Japan, Tokyo, in April 1990. He was a key founder of the Xiamen University Student Photography Society and a member of the influential “Five Ones” photographer collective. A participant of the first unofficial photography exhibition at Fujian Museum in 1984, he took part in the Exhibition of Contemporary Photography, Beijing, the first Five Ones exhibition at the Hong Kong Arts Center in 1987 and the Chinese Photography – 20th Century and Beyond exhibition held at Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in 2016.