Documentary, Events, Exhibitions, Festivals, Fine Art

Consumerism goes on display at the Lianzhou Foto Festival

  • N$80, from the series Funny Money © Max Siedentopf, shown in the exhibition As Entertaining As Possible at the Lianzhou Foto Festival.

    N$80, from the series Funny Money © Max Siedentopf, shown in the exhibition As Entertaining As Possible at the Lianzhou Foto Festival.

  • Las Vegas Casino, from the series America 60 © Maurice Durville, shown in the exhibition As Entertaining As Possible at the Lianzhou Foto Festival.

    Las Vegas Casino, from the series America 60 © Maurice Durville, shown in the exhibition As Entertaining As Possible at the Lianzhou Foto Festival.

  • From the series Supermarket © Jean-Luc Cramatte and Jacob Nzudie, shown in the exhibition As Entertaining As Possible at the Lianzhou Foto Festival.

    From the series Supermarket © Jean-Luc Cramatte and Jacob Nzudie, shown in the exhibition As Entertaining As Possible at the Lianzhou Foto Festival.

Combining projects shot in China, Cameroon, the USA and Namibia, 'As Entertaining As Possible' gives an insight into how images “have transformed the individual into a privileged witness to his own alienation”

“There was a time when the modern man thought that he was making objects,” says François Cheval. “Now the homo faber, as a model, is disappearing in favour of the homo consumer.”

Cheval is curator of the Musée Nicéphore Niépce in France, but he also co-curated the lead exhibition at this year’s Lianzhou Foto Festival with Wang Chunchen, head of the department of curatorial research at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum. Titled As Entertaining As Possible, the show explores the spectacle of consumerism, and the way in which images have “have transformed the individual into a privileged witness to his own alienation”, says Cheval.

Including nearly 20 artists, As Entertaining As Possible includes Maurice Durville’s America 60 series, photographs of the United States in the 1960s, and Jacob Nzudie & Jean-Luc Cramatte’s Supermarket project, which shows people posing among aisles of goods in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Coastal City, Nanshan, Shenzhen, 27th September 2014. From the series New Chinese © Li Zhengde, shown in the exhibition As Entertaining As Possible at the Lianzhou Foto Festival.

Coastal City, Nanshan, Shenzhen, 27th September 2014. From the series New Chinese © Li Zhengde, shown in the exhibition As Entertaining As Possible at the Lianzhou Foto Festival.

Works from Li Zhengde’s The New Chinese, meanwhile, depict a young, urban, “selfie” generation in the People’s Republic. “The way in which Chinese photographers have treated the subject is remarkable,” says Cheval. “There is no compromise: a cold and surgical gaze on today’s society.”

The exhibition also features work from Max Siedentopf’s Funny Money, which was shot this year. A white Namibian now living in the Netherlands, Siedentopf returned to his home country with €100 in local currency, and asked people if he could photograph them. He let them react to the camera as they pleased, and told the locals to name their price if they wanted to be paid – his only specification that the money would be part of the picture.

Smoke Break, from the series Welcome to Camp America © Debi Cornwall, given a solo show at the Lianzhou Foto Festival.

Smoke Break, from the series Welcome to Camp America © Debi Cornwall, given a solo show at the Lianzhou Foto Festival.

Other highlights from the festival, which runs until 9th December, include a solo exhibition by Wang Yuanling, whose Hello Hualongqiao shows the Chinese city in the 1980s. Debi Cornwall’s Welcome to Camp America series, which gives a glimpse of the absurdity of life for the troops at Guantanamo Bay, won the festival’s Punctum Photography Award.

“Debi showed the brutal reality of the world of merchandise and its desire to bring everything back to the same scale of values,” says Cheval.

www.lianzhoufoto.com

FEBRUARY 2017 ISSUE: Tales of the City: Richard Renaldi’s overture to New York is our February 2017 cover story. Skate photography legend French Fred provides a fresh take on urban form, Dayanitah Singh navigates India’s industrial legacy, and Mark Neville records children at play, from the East End of London to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. Plus we speak to Richard Mosse about his large-scale work debuting at The Barbican, and we give our verdict on the Canon EOS 5D Mk IV. It’s available to order online now.

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