Message from the Three Shadows
The Chinese word "xiang" is an interesting one. On the one hand, "xiang" (appearance) was originally a Buddhist technical term, signifying that which is beyond representation, with the various characteristics 0portrayal via observation from the heart; second, in the modern scientific context of physics, "xiang"(or phase)refers to that which has complete uniformity between physical nature and chemical property within a given system. In this light, "xiang" embodies both abstract thought and concrete significance. Due to photography's process of transforming the immaterial to the material, we call photographs "xiang pian". Traditionally speaking,the creation of a photograph not only involves light and shadow, but also the chemical transformation of silver salt.- however most important is that the image is born of the heart, an embodiment of the photographer's spirit and ideas.
The Diamond Sutra states, "By detachment from appearances, abide in Real Truth." The appearance of things is unreliable; we must recognize the truth and illusion present in all material things before we have the possibility to breakthrough and obtain greater wisdom. The name of this year's Three Shadows Photography Award is "Detachment", with the hope that a new generation of artists can do away with the fixed form of material substance and no longer be fettered by preconceived notions of conceptual consciousness. Rather, they will use unrestrained artistic spirit to create artwork that is ripe with both clear vision of themselves and the times we live in.
Compared to previous editions, the finalists for this year's Three Shadows Photography Award have already changed from those born in the 70s and 80s, to those born after the 80s and 90s. The youngest finalist this year was born in 1998. This change we see in age is also present in this generation's conceptual system of representation, use of the language of photography, and the overall shift in their chosen subject matter and themes. Moreover, this edition of the Three Shadows Photography Award attracted the attention of numerous students currently or recently returned from studying abroad, ultimately meaning that the submissions this year displayed a greater blending of Chinese and international characteristics. Forging onward with roots firmly planted in our native soil, the Three Shadows Photography Award is unwaveringly dedicated to continuously blazing new trails for the possibility and future of photography as an artistic medium.
"Detachment" (li-xiang) when said quickly in Chinese also sounds like "ideal" (li· xiang). The realization of any ideal is always reliant upon the reciprocal support of one's fellow travelers. As such, on behalf of Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, I wish to sincerely thank each and every artist who submitted his or her work to the competition this year. The realization of your ideals is precisely what powers the Three Shadows Photography Award to persist. We are especially thankful for famed photographer and curator, Mr. BohnchangKoo, Director of the Jeu de Paume, Ms. Marta Gil, Director of the Amana Group Photography Collection, Mr.Taka Kawachi, and Curator of the Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum, Mr. Tsai Meng, for serving on our international panel of judges for this edition. We thank you for your participation and support, and ensuring that the Three Shadows Photography Award selection process maintains a consistently international perspective and academic standard.
This year marks the 8th year since the founding of Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, as well as the 7thyear of the Three Shadows Photography Award. Deepest thanks to those expert judges, participating artists,collaborating organizations, and media partners who have accompanied us as we've grown through the years.Special thanks to the Shiseido Corporation for their continued support from day one, and to the amanasalto inc. for their enthusiastic support of this year's award. I'd also like to express my thanks to every member of the Three Shadows team, for it is their efforts that have made this year's Three Shadows Photography Award and exhibition so smooth and successful!