LOOK Photo Biennial

LOOK Photo Biennial 2019: chapter one

Unfolding throughout the year, LOOK Photo Biennial 2019 builds upon Open Eye Gallery’s international exchange with China.

The programme uses photography to bring different cultures into conversation.

It reflects on shifting national identities, worldwide environmental issues and how we can communicate effectively.

Split across two chapters, LOOK Photo Biennial 2019 began on June 6 with chapter one.

The second chapter will run from October 17 to December 21.

LOOK Photo Biennial
Frank, Dali, China, June 2013, © Yan Wang Preston

Growing into new surroundings

Chapter one, Transplant, explores photography’s ability to chart people, places and practices that have been uprooted.

It documents the process by which they grow into their new surroundings.

In Shanghai Sacred at Victoria Gallery & Museum, anthropologist Liz Hingley highlights people’s attempts to enact international religious practices under the watch of a distrustful state.

Shanghai is a rapidly growing mega city, with more than 24 million inhabitants and many more migrating there every day.

At the same time as becoming a site for growing consumerism, it is also experiencing an unprecedented religious revival, encouraged by international migration.

The exhibition runs until September 28.

LOOK Photo Biennial
Puhejing Quarry Ecology Recovery Project, Dali, China, 2017, © Yan Wang Preston

Nature within cities

A series of pop-up exhibitions will run alongside this, featuring new collaborative projects from photographers and academics.

John Davies and Tabitha Jussa look at the proliferation of trees treated as not ‘native’ yet perfectly adapted to the city’s parks.

Stephanie Wynne and Steve McCoy present Triangulation. Throughout the ongoing project they are taking panoramic shots at all 310 triangulation points used by Ordnance Survey to map Britain.

Pauline Rowe and David Lockwood will look at the culture surrounding allotments in Aigburth, South Liverpool, as people come together in the midst of a city to nurture a rural environment.

On The Wirral, an exhibition looking at attempts to ‘green’ the urban environment will take place on the site of 850-year-old Birkenhead Priory.

Yan Preston’s World Photo Award-winning Forest looks at the transplantation of ancient trees to new developments in China, in an attempt to simulate an ‘authentic’ heritage.

This multi-million pound industry sees thousands of trees transplanted every year, often into climates that do not suit them.

LOOK Photo Biennial
Shesan Seminary Chapel, From the series Shanghai Sacred, © Liz Hingley, 2013

Depictions of Britain

As chapter one closes, an exhibition originally shown in China by Open Eye Gallery will launch in Williamson Art Gallery on September 27, bridging the two chapters.

Distinctly takes a unique approach to the depiction of Britain, its distinct landscapes, industries, social and economic changes.

These stories are told through the eyes of ten of the most established photographers in Britain over the last six decades.

They are: Martin Parr, Chris Killip, Marketa Luskacova, John Myers, Tish Murtha, Daniel Meadows, Ken Grant, Niall McDiarmid, Robert Darch and Kirsty Mackay.

Full details of chapter two will be announced later in the year.

It will include exhibitions across Liverpool, the wider North West and Shanghai.

Open Eye Gallery will produce a major exhibition titled Peer to Peer.

Curated in partnership with Serein Lui, Shanghai it features international breakthrough artists. Fourteen leading photography curators, directors and collectors from across the UK and China have selected the artists.

LOOK Photo Biennial 2019

LOOK Photo Biennial 2019 takes place across Liverpool, The Wirral, the wider North West and in Shanghai.

It is delivered by Open Eye Gallery, and funded by Arts Council England, Liverpool City Council and The Foyle Foundation.

In partnership with Wirral Borough of Culture, University of Salford Art Collection, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art and Redeye.

Venue partners include Victoria Gallery & Museum, Museum of Liverpool, Williamson Gallery & Museum, and the University of Central Lancashire.

Further funding support comes from Spectrum Photographic and Colloids.

Main image: Memorial Hall of the First Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Xintiandi area, (2015), Liz Hingley

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