PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai 2016 posts strongest ever sales

Sep 12, 2016 4:00AM

Third edition of PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai ran September 9–11 at Shanghai Exhibition Center; Focus on cutting-edge contemporary photography; Significant increased attendance from collectors both internationally and across mainland China.

"We are proud to remain the most international art fair in mainland China and to confirm our position as the leading destination for collectable photography in Asia."

- Alexander Montague-Sparey, Artistic Director, PHOTOFAIRS

Image by James Ambrose courtesy of PHOTOFAIRS.

September 12, 2016: The third edition of PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai closed on Sunday 11 September with the fair’s strongest ever sales.  The focus on cutting-edge contemporary photography was highlighted by many of those in attendance, with collectors calling the third edition the best yet and the destination fair to find the most exciting emerging Asian artists. 

2016 was the most international edition of PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai to date, with over 27,000 visitors coming to see 50 galleries from 15 countries covering 24 cities at the Shanghai Exhibition Center. Mercedes-Benz returned as the fair’s Leading Partner.

Galleries reported a thoroughly engaged Chinese audience resulting in increased sales across the fair, including its two new sectors Connected, which celebrates artist working within the realm of moving image in China, and Platform, for galleries exhibiting in mainland China for the first time. 

The fair saw significant increased attendance from collectors from across China (including Beijing and Chengdu) as well as further afield, such as Hong Kong, South Korea, Germany and the United States, and attracted greater interest from international institutional museum curators.  Those in attendance at PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai included: Budi Tek (Founder, Yuz Museum, China), Jiyoon Lee (Managing Director, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul), Wang Xiye (collector), Lu Xun (Collector and Director, Sifang Art Museum, China), Qiao Zhibing (collector and Founder, Qiao Space), Mikala Tai (Director 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sidney), Liu HeungShing (Director, SCoP, Shanghai) Todd Brandow (Executive Director, Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis, New York, Paris, Lausanne), Thomas Shao (collector and Founder, Modern Media Group), Charles Jin Hongwei (collector) and Nathalie Herschodorfer (Directrice, Museé des Beaux-Arts, Le Locle) amongst others.

Talking about the fair’s success, Alexander Montague-Sparey, Artistic Director, PHOTOFAIRS, comments: 

“We are proud to remain the most international art fair in mainland China and to confirm our position as the leading destination for collectable photography in Asia.  The cutting-edge, high quality, controlled environment of the fair allows us to be focused around the conversation of photography, and has ensured continued growth of the fair since its inception in 2014.

The market in China has greatly matured and this has enabled us present exciting, emerging artists from China and across the Asia Pacific region, while still offering pieces by masters of the medium.  Our audiences trust remains a strong element of the fair, as we present investment-worthy pieces as a focus of our overall mission.  As we progress to next year, an even stronger dialogue with Asian countries with an exciting photographic legacy, such as Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia and Korea, will be presented.  We will also continue to work more closely with international institutions looking to acquire strong Asian photography.”

Talking about the fair, the following galleries commented:

Mathieu Borysevicz, BANK (Shanghai) – Main

“This is the first year we have joined the fair.  Lots of our sales have been to new people and there has been great inter-gallery exchange.  This is the first time Robert Mapplethorpe has been shown in this capacity in China.  We have vintage prints that are of museum quality and the audiences have responded and been enamoured by this.  All the sets available of the Daido Moriyama work have sold and Chen Zhe’s work has also been of great interest to new and seasoned collectors alike”.

Lorraine Liu, ShanghART Gallery (Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore) - Main

“People have shown great excitement for the fair and have been very engaged.  Chen Xiao Yun has been the most popular – the work has an accessible price point and has been very attractive to buyers. 

Jonny Davies, Flowers Gallery (London, New York, Hong Kong) - Main

“This year has been the most promising yet and we have seen much greater interaction with mainland China collectors.  This is partly due to the artists we brought for 2016. Local artist Shen Wei has garnered much attention. As the fair has matured we have seen a noticeable increase in levels of sophisticated engagement”.

Sinem Yoruk, Elipsis Projects (London, Istanbul) - Platform

“We have incredible interest in Ahmet Ertuğ’s work and we are pleased to be here and to be able to introduce the artist to the Chinese market.  I think that it would be a fantastic opportunity if we are able to link with the contacts we have made in China and for Ahmet to do a project here. We look forward to coming back.”

L-Art Gallery (Chengdu) – Connected

“It is important that photography and moving image have been combined in the way it has this year at the fair.  It is helping to further the audience’s understanding of the medium.” 

Works offered ranged from $2,000 – 200,000 USD, with prices averaging around $5,000 - 15,000 USD. 

Sales included:

·    Works from a solo presentation of Chen Xiao Yun sold at ShanghART (Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore)

·    A unique piece by Andreas Mahl was sold by Galerie Photo12 (Santa Monica, Paris) for $12,000 USD

·    Works by all the artists presented by Vanguard were sold, including Aki Lumi, Yuki Onodera and Yi Xin Tong

·    Shen Wei, Boomoon and Mona Kuhn were all sold by Flowers Gallery (London, New York, Hong Kong)

·    Mohsen Gallery (Tehran) in the Main sector sold several works by Mehdi Abdolkarimi for $4,000 USD and two by Mehrdad Afsari $11,500 USD and $10,000 USD

 ·    Emerging Chinese video artist Wang Man was sold by L-Art Gallery (Chengdu) in the Connected sector

          ·    All editions of Daido Moriyama’s work presented by BANK (Shanghai) were sold

·    CAMERA WORK (Berlin) sold a number of pieces, including all three works of Tina Berning and Michelangelo Di Battista for $33,000 USD, a Christian Tagliavini for $7,000 USD and a Yoram Roth for $8,000 USD

·    Gallery Koo (Seoul) sold out their whole solo booth of works by JinHee Kim

Talking at the fair, Vanessa Hallett, Worldwide Head of Photographs, Senior Vice President, PHILLIPS, adds to this: “PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai is extremely refreshing with so many new artists to learn about and to see work that deserves a larger international collector base.”

PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai continued its commitment to presenting living artists, with over 20 photographers at the fair.  This included: Michael Wolf, Yao Lu, Shen Wei, Olivo Babieri, Jiang Pengyi, JinHee Kim, Anderson & Low, Cai DongDong, Wu Ding, Denis Darzacq, RongRong, Shao Wenhaun, Hiroji Kubota and Jacob Gils.

PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai ran from September 9-11 at the Shanghai Exhibition Center.  It will return in 2017 from September 8-10.

Mercedes-Benz returned as the Leading Partner of PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai 2016 and presented a new media video work 10,000 Moving Cities – Sense Version­ by Swiss artist Marc Lee.

VIP Partner American Express invited its most premium Chinese Card Members who are interested in photography and art investment to an event preview and private dinner.  Leica, the fair’s Photo Partner presented Visual Stories from China, 1933 until now exhibition featuring legendary photographer Marc Riboud alongside works by aviation pioneer Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen and two young Asian photographers.  NET-A-PORTER, Vernissage Partner, presented an exhibition featuring fashion images of iconic celebrities and supported the opening night party. 

Three Associate Partners presented a range of installations at the fair. Lancôme created an interactive installation with visual artist Charles Guo. Focusing on the theme Love Your Age, Guo used classic fashion photography lighting to capture glorious natural looks of audiences of PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai.  Fine watchmaking brand Jaeger-LeCoultre partnered with Chinese artist Yang Yongliang, whose works have been collected by Jaeger-LeCoultre's Yearbook Ten.  Yongliang chooses to use digital photography and digital collage to reinterpret traditional aesthetics. Burberry showcased its new campaign for its 2016 collections for men and women shot by Mario Testino.  The campaign celebrates the best of British art and creativity and features Edie Campbell and Callum Turner.

Event Partner Xitek presented its Annual Special Exhibition featuring a dynamic new solo show by contemporary artist Wang Ningde.

This year’s edition was also kindly supported by 10 Corso Como (Lifestyle Partner), Domus Tiandi (Furniture Partner), Bund-1 (Restaurant Partner), Wines of Chile (Wine Partner), Hahnemühle (Paper Partner), MEMORIESLAB (Print Partner), Artron (Media Partner) and AMCHAM Shanghai (Supporting Organisation). Modern Media Group was the fair’s Strategic Media Partner and Digital Partners artnet and Ocula created online platforms for PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai, giving international collectors and the wider public the opportunity to view and experience the galleries and artworks at any time. 

PHOTOFAIRS | San Francisco

PHOTOFAIRS will launch its inaugural edition in San Francisco in January 2017.  Maintaining the boutique, highly curated approach of the Shanghai fair, PHOTOFAIRS | San Francisco will offer a dynamic interaction between cutting-edge Asian artists and exciting West Coast practitioners of the medium.  The fair will also present many of the galleries who have participated in PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai, giving them a brand new opportunity to connect with international collectors.

For more information go to

PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai        

September 8-10, 2017

Shanghai Exhibition Centre         

PHOTOFAIRS | San Francisco 

January 27-29, 2017

Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center

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