10 Chinese Photographers To Watch in 2019

Last year, we covered 10 Contemporary Chinese Photographers You Should Know, who were all nominees for the 2017 Jimei x Arles Discovery Award, one of the most prestigious photography awards in China, rewarding an artist with an exhibition at world-famous Rencontres d’Arles festival the following year as well as a 200,000 RMB prize.

In this post, we are introducing the 2018 Jimei x Arles Discovery Award nominees. Aged between 22 and 38, the ten nominees of the Discovery Award are a mirror on today's China, with their focus on topics including the couple, intimacy, gender identities, self-representation, collective memory, public and private urban space, media and social networks, mass production and consumption, globalized exchanges...

Following in the footsteps of Zhu Lanqing, Liu Silin and Feng Li, Lei Lei, the 2018 winner, will have the chance to be exhibited at Rencontres d'Arles next year with his work Weekend. Pixy Liao won the second edition of the Jimei x Arles - Madame Figaro Women Photographers Award.

Coca Dai

Born 1976, Wuyuan County, Jiangxi Province, China. Lives and works in Shanghai.

Dai Jianyong, also known as 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 brutal perspective of contemporary Chinese society.

Dai Jianyong’s projects have been displayed in group and solo exhibitions, such as 2010 Beijing Caochangdi Photography Spring Festival, 2012 Pingyao International Photography Festival (Award winner) and the 11th Shanghai Biennale Exhibition (2016). He has been on artistic residency programs in New York and Finland.


Read Lens Culture’s article about Coca Dai

Pixy Liao

Born 1979, Shanghai, China. Lives and works in New York, USA.

Born and raised in Shanghai, Pixy Liao currently resides in New York. Her long-term photo project Experimental Relationship challenges conventional ideas of gender dynamics. She also explores female identity in video and sculpture. Liao began being interested in photography after watching Antonioni’s film Blow-up, followed by pursuing photography in the United States. Her works have been shown at He Xiangning Art Museum, Museum of Sex, Asia Society, Shanghai K11, Leo Xu Projects, Metro Pictures, Flower Gallery, etc. She is a recipient of NYFA Fellowship in photography, En Foco's New Works Fellowship and LensCulture Exposure Awards. She was awarded the 2018 Jimei x Arles - Madame Figaro Women Photographers Award.



Read our interview of Pixy Liao

Su Jiehao

Born 1988, Guangdong, China. Lives and works in Providence, United States.

Su Jiehao studied at the Beijing Film Academy and holds an M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Su’s work has been exhibited internationally in venues including the Musée du Quai Branly (France), NRW Forum (Germany), Benaki Museum (Greece), UNM Art Museum (USA), and Three Shadows Photography Art Centre (China). Su has received the Magnum 30 Under 30, Gabriele Basilico Prize (Italy), Arte Creative Award (Germany), IdeasTap Award (UK), and an Emerging Photography Award (USA). He has been an Artist-in-Residence at Independent A.I.R. in Denmark and SMArt in Switzerland.



Hu Wei

Born 1989. Lives and works in Beijing, China.

Hu Wei graduated from the Painting Department of CAFA in 2012, and obtained an MA at Dutch Art Institute in 2016. His practice takes various media to establish an artistic relationship between the reality (non-artistic gesture) and “art tales”. Combining the observation of individuality and social realism, recently he is exploring the mediation or irreconcilable phenomenology between technology and the human condition, in which the emerging political, economic, ethical issues are embedded. The exhibitions Hu has participated in include: Towards the Emergence of Resistance (Taikang Space, 2016), Collective Disorder / After Speaking (Greylight Projects, Brussels), Shanghai Project-Qidian (Himalayas Museum, 2016), among others.



Shao Ruilu

Born 1993, Suzhou (Jiangsu Province), China. Lives and works in Suzhou and Hangzhou, China.

Shao Ruilu graduated from High School of China Academy of Art in 2008, with a B.A from the School of Intermedia Art of China Academy of Art in 2015, and Masters degree under the direction of professor and artist Qiu Zhijie in 2018. Her graduation artwork won the Lin Fengmian Gold Award. In 2017, she participated in the Transcultural Collaboration Program at Zurich University of the Arts. Shao Ruilu's art practice covers film and video, painting, animation and installation. Recently, she has focused on photography, especially still-life photography.

Wong Wingsang

Born 1990, Guangdong, China. Lives and works in Hong Kong.

Wong Wingsang moved to Hong Kong with his father at the age of 4. He got the Cheung's Fine Arts Award in 2013, while he was studying Fine Arts in CUHK. His artworks were exhibited in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China. His artistic creation focuses on the composition of contemporary society, as well as the unspoken rules and the personal subsistence state in it. He currently tries to use ready-made objects and images to build metaphors, exploring the subtle emotions and gray zone beyond everyday language. Recent exhibitions include solo exhibition The Slowest Wind (Canton Gallery, Guangzhou, 2018), group exhibition Chen Pai'an, Wong Wing Sang, Wu Sibo (Tabula Rasa Gallery, Beijing, 2018), Photo booth (ParaSite, Art Basel HK, Hong Kong, 2017), among others.



Lau Wai

Born 1982, Hong Kong. Lives and works in Hong Kong and New York, USA.

Lau Wai graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and she is currently studying MFA in Visual Arts at Columbia University. Her works were exhibited at Art Basel Hong Kong; OCAT Shenzhen; OCAT Shanghai; Brandts Museum, Odense, Denmark; Les Photaumnales, Beauvais, France; Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore; Para Site, Hong Kong; Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing; Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale, Japan. 


Lei Lei

Born 1985, Nanchang (Jiangxi Province), China. Lives and works in Beijing, China, and Los Angeles, USA.

Lei Lei is an experimental animation artist with his hands on video arts, painting, installation, music and VJ performance. In 2009 he earned a master's degree in animation from Tsinghua University. In 2010, his film This is LOVE was shown at Ottawa International Animation Festival and awarded the 2010 Best Narrative Short. In 2013 his film Recycled was selected by Annecy festival and was the Winner Grand Prix shorts - non-narrative at Holland International Animation Film Festival. In 2014 he was part of the Jury of Zagreb / Holland International Animation Film Festival, and on the same year won the 2014 Asian Cultural Council grant. In 2017, Lei Lei was enrolled as a faculty member of CalArts Experimental Animation program in California.



Read our interview of Lei Lei

Shen Wei

Born 1977, Shanghai, China. Lives and works in New York City.

Shen Wei is known for his intimate portraits of others and himself, as well as his poetic landscape and still-life photography. He holds an MFA in photography, video, and related media from the School of Visual Arts, New York; and a BFA in photography from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Shen Wei is a recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Arts Residency, the Asian Cultural Council Arts & Religion Fellowship, the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Arts Grant. 



Yang Wenbin

Born 1996, Jining, Shandong. Lives and works in Beijing

Yang Wenbin graduated from the Communication University of China in 2018. His work Golden Age won the Lishui Photography Festival funding award in 2015. In 2017, Society of University won the New Documentaries Prize sponsored by Inter Art Center. He was shortlisted for the 8th Three Shadows Photography Award. His exhibition of Euphoric Mirror in Lianzhou Foto 2016 was commissioned by NetEase.



Note: The artists are the 10 nominees for the Discovery Award of the Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival, created in 2015. Every year, ten talents are nominated by five curators. At stake is an award of 200,000 RMB (25,000 Euros) and an exhibition at the prestigious Rencontres d’Arles the following year. In 2018, the nominees were selected by curators Dong Bingfeng, Li Jie, Chelsea Qianxi Liu, Holly Roussell and Wang Yan. More information: https://www.en.jimeiarles.com/jimei-x-arles-discovery-award/2018/