“Peer to Peer” showcases 14 artists that have been selected by 14 influential figures in the field of photography in China and the UK. What makes “Peer to Peer” an important new platform is how, by involving experienced professional curators and institutional directors from leading arts organizations, the project makes a firm connection between one generation and the next, turning the spotlight of this moment on a diverse group of artists deserving of wider international recognition.
Where the 14 participants in the exhibition are of different ages, experience and come from diverse backgrounds, the works on display present a range of perspectives on contemporary life and the ways we see the world - from our relationship with the environment, to crypto-currency and ageing populations.
“Peer to Peer” was conceived by Sarah Fisher, Director, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, and curated by Lindsay Taylor, University of Salford Art Collection, Salford, UK, and independent curator Serein Liu, Shanghai. Hosted by Open Eye Gallery in conjunction with St. George’s Hall Liverpool, the exhibition opened in Liverpool in October 2019 as part of LOOK Photo Biennial. Now, this December, it comes to SCoP.
From the UK side, featured artists include Anna Ridler, with two AI-generated projects, titled Mosaic Virus and Tulips, which were previously shown as part of the London Barbican exhibition “AI: More than Human”. The motif of the tulip references the Tulip Mania that in the 17th century nearly crashed the Dutch economy. Used here it represents the current fluctuations in attitudes towards Bitcoin. Considering the environment, we have excerpts from
Yan Wang Preston’s recent Sony World Photo Award-winning work Forest, while Mandy Barker’s Soup tackles the accumulation of plastics in earth’s oceans. Maisie Cousins presents her sickly-sweet style of photography that focuses on close-ups of everyday objects to make lucid images in which attraction and repulsion collide powerfully.
Alix Marie is a French artist, based in the UK, whose work sits between photography and sculpture. She presents STRETCH, in which photos of a body performing yoga poses are printed on Lycra that is stretched over the walls. Othello De’Souza-Hartley’s work unpicks contemporary masculinity, whilst Jonny Briggs’ Unpalatable Truths is an unnerving, surreal examination of the cover-up of child abuse on the island of Jersey. Siân Davey’s years working as a psychotherapist shine through her photography, which charts the delicate balances of family life.
We are proud to host six amazing artists from China; Sun Yanchu, Jiang Pengyi, Wu Yue, Fan Xi, Qin Yifeng and Chen Zhe, who are all at different stages of their personal careers. Whilst they are currently known to greater and lesser degrees across China, all have been selected as deserving of a wider recognition in the international scene by directors and curators at some of China’s most influential international photography galleries and organizations.
The stark black and white photographs of Sun Yanchu are reflective of the strange landscapes of suburban decay. The dreamlike abstract images of Jiang Pengyi’s In Some Time are made without a camera through manipulation of darkroom techniques. Wu Yue’s Red Lights Go Grey documents life in a nursing home in Dongguan that, prior to a crackdown on the sex industry, was an illicit nightclub. Fan Xi’s Tree experiments with an unconventional way of constructing a photograph by stitching hundreds of images together to form a single tree. Qin Yifeng’s Antique Wood focuses on fragmented details of Ming Dynasty furniture through a process of long exposure. In her series Towards Evenings: Six Chapters that interwines image and literature, Chen Zhe takes us on a journey in search of the nebulous space between day and night, light and twilight, the known and the unknown.
SCoP is delighted to partner with Open Eye Gallery and the LOOK Photo Biennial on this important cultural exchange. We would like to thank Sarah Fisher at Open Eye Gallery, Lindsay Taylor of University of Salford Art Collection, and Serein Liu for their help with the smooth preparation of the exhibition, and all participating artists for being such a pleasure to work with.
We thank the teams at BANK Gallery, Shanghai, Star Gallery, Beijing, Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong, and White Cube Gallery, Hong Kong, for support of their artists.
Thanks also go to the Shanghai-based organization, Branding Shanghai for its support in bringing participating artists from the UK to Shanghai.