Summer of Love
2019.06.08 - 08.25
There was a time not long ago in China, when the romantic concept of love, as a personal experience, or as a basic human need, was considered inferior to the shared comfort that could be gained from a community-oriented society. With the launch of opening and reform, love and its outward expression resurfaced and, over the recent four decades, romance has bloomed and bloomed. How far has society come today from even that first moment in the 1980s when, against the backdrop of a cultural spring, love was so tentative – as we see in the work of Liu Heung Shing.
Today, in tandem with the breadth of economic reform and its investment in materiality, we don’t have to look far to find examples of love’s multitudinous manifestations. The very streets of Shanghai provide daily vignettes of the booming pre-wedding photography industry, evidence of the importance placed upon the social ritual of marriage. But is that love?
“Summer of love” presents Liu Heung Shing’s Love in Spring, Maleonn’s My Mobile Photo Studio, Olivia Martin-McGuire’s China Love, and Coca Dai’s Judy Zhu 2008-2015.
Through all the works that presented in “Summer of Love” – from the discreet expression of love during a special era in China captured by Liu Heung Shing; the material aspects of love in the wedding industry captured by Olivia Martin-McGuire; the journeys of loveliness, romance and kindness around 28,000 kilometers to almost 54 cities captured by Maleonn; to Coca Dai’s photographs of Judy Zhu, which represent an intimate narrative on contemporary womanhood, we explore the emotional expression of love, as well as what is love and how can it be expressed photographically. Taking examples of works from four photographers who have, in their individual ways, contributed to an understanding of how love is celebrated in China today, we take a look at love’s most obvious manifestations; courtship and marriage, close ties between friends; and family love.
Additionally, through the winning entries for our open call, we present portraits of “The One I Love” through the gaze of a young generation of aspiring photographers. During the exhibition, we will continue to receive works from the public related to love.
SCoP would like to thank the participating photographers. In particular, Maleonn for granting use of his collection of vintage wedding photos. Thanks also to our guest curator Holly Roussell, representing Asia Photography Project, for her work with Coca Dai, an exhibition originally commissioned for the Jimei x Arles Discovery Award. Finally, we thank the participants of “The One I Love” open call for sharing with us their stories of love.
SCoP would like to thank Dior for supporting us and VANKE for enthusiastically supporting the development of our public education. Thanks also to the full support from our partners – West Bund Group, Shanghai Daily and Photography is Art; and to Hahnemühle’s technical help. SCoP is delighted and honored to participate in “1+16 Art Museum Public Sharing Program.”
Liu Heung Shing (1951-)
Liu Heung Shing was born in Hong Kong. He spent his early childhood studying in Fuzhou, southern China. Following university studies at New York’s Hunter College, in the mid-1970s during his apprenticeship In New York with Life magazine’s Gjon Mili, Liu Heung Shing was influenced by the legendary team of Life magazine photographers. He began photographing China in 1976, with a privileged posting in Beijing for Time magazine. Photographs from China were first published in 1983 in his book China After Mao, prompting Newsweek magazine to describe him as “the Henri Cartier-Bresson of China.” Today, Liu Heung Shing makes his home in Shanghai. He is the founding director of the Shanghai Center of Photography, one of the leading cultural institutions that have sprung up in this leading Asian city in the recent decade.
Maleonn (Ma Liang) was born in Shanghai, China. He entered Shanghai Huashan Art School when he was 12 years old. He then went to Fine Art College of Shanghai University, majoring in Graphic design. By 1995, having completed an 11-year-long stretch of art studies, he went into the world of advertisement and became a director of commercial film. During this period of his career, he received the golden award of the China International Advertising Festival twice. In 2004, Maleonn quit his job and started his career as an artist, creating graphic art by the media of photography, as well as drawing and installation art. In 2012, Maleonn embarked upon a public art project he called the Studio Mobile. He put his photo studio into two mini vans, and for 10 months travelled through China, taking free portraits for 1,600 strangers in 54 cities. The event brought nation-wide attention to this artist, and created enthusiastic discussion on the internet. Maleonn lives and works in Shanghai, China.
Olivia Martin-McGuire (1975-)
Olivia Martin-McGuire is an Australian documentary photographer and filmmaker based in Hong Kong. She has exhibited her work throughout Australia and China, including solo shows at the Australian Centre for Photography, Customs House in Sydney, Brisbane Museum, Liangzhou Photo Festival, Photofairs Shanghai, and various group shows. Her work has featured in many leading international magazines and newspapers. She recently directed her first feature-film documentary, ChinaLove, for ABC Television/Screen Australia. It premiered at Sydney Film Festival and internationally at DOC NYC – and is screening regularly on the international festival circuit. Olivia has an Honors degree in Photomedia from the College of Fine Arts, Sydney, Australia.
Coca Dai (1976-)
Dai Jianyong (Coca Dai) was born in Wuyuan County, Jiangxi Province. Coca Dai has been actively working as a freelance artist in photography since 2000. His personal family history and Shanghai daily life are of great inspiration to his photographic projects, and a number of his works address related topics. His photographs are distinguished by a spontaneous, snapshot, documentary style which stands out in its unapologetic ability to narrate with images a passionate and blunt perspective of contemporary Chinese society. His projects were displayed on 2010 Beijing Caochangdi Photography Spring Festival, and the 11th Shanghai Biennale Exhibition. He won the 2012 Pingyao International Photography Festival Award and has been twice on artistic residency programs in New York and Finland. He currently lives and works in Shanghai.
Holly Roussell, guest curator of Coca Dai’s series “Judy Zhu”
Holly Roussell (born 1989, Vermont, USA) is an independent curator, museologist, and art historian specializing in photography and contemporary art from Asia. Roussell is graduate of Université de Neuchâtel (Switzerland) with a MA in Museology. She also holds a BA in Art History. She previously served as coordinator of the worldwide travelling exhibitions program and photography prize, the Prix Elysée, for the Musée de l’Elysée from 2013-2017. As a curator, selected projects include working with William A. Ewing on the 21st century survey of landscape photography, “Landmark: The Fields of Landscape Photography”, and the accompanying publication (Thames & Hudson, 2014), and co-curating “Works in Progress: Photography in China 2015”, presented at the Folkwang Museum in Essen, the 2018 Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennale under the direction of Li Zhenhua and the major travelling exhibition project, “Civilization: The Way We Live Now”.
Holly Roussell regularly contributes to international portfolio reviews and has authored a number of exhibition catalogues and magazine features on photography. In 2017, she co-founded the Asia Photography Project, a Swiss non-profit curatorial collective and platform for photography from Asia. Roussell is based in Suzhou, China.