Zhang Zikang: From “Peeking” and “Watching” to Focus on “Private” and “Public”

As one of the brand exhibitions of CAFA Art Museum, “The Beijing Photo Biennial” has been held twice successfully with themes of “Aura and Post-Aura” and “Unfamiliar Asia”. They started respectively from the essence of photography and the political nature it carried, around the issues about contemporary photography, to develop, research, select and present the most representative international photography works, and received wide attention and recognition. Based on the precious experience accumulated in the previous two biennials, CAFA Art Museum began to organize the Third Beijing Photo Biennial, with the theme of “Confusing Public and Private”, aiming to re-open the hidden space dimension of photography and explore the social issues within it.

Zhang Zikang

Director of CAFA Art Museum

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Poster of the First Beijing Photo Biennial in 2013

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Site photos of the First Beijing Photo Biennial in 2013

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Poster of the Second Beijing Photo Biennial in 2015

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Site photos of the Second Beijing Photo Biennial in 2015


This exhibition is divided into twelve chapters, from the behavior of “peeking” and “watching”, to explore the subtle connection between “the private” and “the public” of photographic images. Each chapter seems like a galaxy and finally constitute a complete constellation picture after professional curation. Within the picture, the exhibition not only discusses the photography itself – for example, the gazing issue of photography that has been long contemplated, and discussions regarding rights brought by techniques of photography; but also put photography in a grander social and historical context – in a gradually dense and powerful network system in which the boundary of the private and the public domain become harder to distinguish, what role does photography play and what is the effect?


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Site photos of the Third Beijing Photo Biennial held in CAFA Art Museum


Since photography was invented, its unique technology and media attribute have enabled it to have the ability to record and produce images, giving photography a kind of anti-elite quality, which is also the reason that photography differs from other art forms and can keep its independence. No matter how people emphasize photography’s artistry, it remains an essential media for visual expression and is widely applied in various fields and disciplines through a long time span. With the development of technology and media, particularly after the popularization of the mobile phone and internet, photos can be seen everywhere, and thus we enter an “image-explosion” era, overwhelmed by outpouring images every day. If McLuhan believes that media is the extension of the human body, then photography is everywhere to support, repair and extend our lives. Under the current context, the definition of photography becomes more generalized and diversified. Especially for the artist, it has grown out of the two-dimensional scope of “documentary” and “aesthetics” for a long time, and the images produced by it continually change the boundary of the private and the public. This kind of vague boundary updates our understanding of photography while leading us to discussions of our social spaces.

 

Site photos of the Third Beijing Photo Biennial held in CAFA Art Museum

 

“The private” and “the public” that embodied and generated by photography, essentially, are a conflict between the private and the public that brought by images in social space and discourse space. On the one hand, since portable camera and mobile terminal appeared because of technology, photography has been labeled as “democratic” and can record and share at any time. On the other hand, however, this kind of democracy is open to discussion: for instance, in the process of producing and spreading images, how people make sure if their privacy is not violated? Then, just like the boundary between the private and the public is indistinguishable, so do the boundaries between “recording” and “peeking”, “the real” and “the virtual”.

 

Site photos of the Third Beijing Photo Biennial held in CAFA Art Museum

 

In the exhibition, participant artists use photography as a tool to keep digging above issues and a series of new discussions are introduced: especially in a new era, how does photography exist in the present time? How does it affect current society? What kind of information does it bring to us and what is it? This year’s biennial invited nearly a hundred artists, covering both internationally renowned artist, such as Robert Frank and Candida Höfer, and new generations of young artists from around the world. In the contemporary context, they create works to reflect the reality and push forward the development of photographic languages and ideas through the way of photography, so as to bring about a new image revolution.

 

Although the exhibition is divided into different sections, each section is not entirely independent, and they are connected by a historical line and the social context. We hope to use this way to present the theme of the exhibition in a broader perspective, that is, start from photography to open more opportunities to rethink of “the private” and “the public” in society. As a university art museum, we hope that this biennial could involve ourselves in sorting out the development history of international photography and promoting the development of contemporary photography, continuing to provide photography more vast space for creations and academic discussion spaces.

 

Berna Reale, Palomo, 2012

 

Cristinade Middel and Bruno Morais, Midnight at the Crossroad 007, 2016, 50 × 66.3 cm

 

Wolfgang Laib, Milk and Stone, 1987, photo

 

Richard Mosse, Incoming, 2014 – 2017, 52m 10s, three-channel HD video, 7.3-channel surround sound

 

Viviane Sassen, Sisters, 2008, 120x 150cm, version 5 + 2AP

 

Eva O’Leary, Hannah, 2017,54.6 × 68.8 cm, Ultra Giclee on Conson Fine Baryta paper

 

Robert Frank, Don’t Blink, 2015, Film, 82m

 

Mário Macilau, The Price of the cement, 2013, 80 × 53 cm

 

Cixi, Empress Dowager of China, 1835-1908, Photographs, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., Purchase, (FSA A.13 SC-GR-243)

 

Léonard Pongo, Unbelievable

 

Shizuka Yokomizo, Stranger series (1998-2000)

 

Joan Fontcuberta, Icon Helmet’s Exploration Training at Night, 2018

 

Weronika Gęsicka, Untitled 2, Trace series, 2016

 


Confusing Public and Private: The Third Beijing Photo Biennial

 

Host: CAFA Art Museum

Organizers: The Curatorial Committee of the 2018 Beizhen International Photography Festival

Venue: The Cultural Industry Center (Beizhen, Liaoning), CAFA Art Museum (1F and Gallery C,2F)

Dates: September 28 – October 28, 2018 (Beizhen)

           October 1- November 4, 2018 (Beijing)

Opening: 19:00, September 28, 2018, Beizhen Temple in Qifu Square, Niaoning

 

General Adviser: Fan Di’an (China)

Exhibition Director: Wang Huangsheng (China), Zhang Zikang (China)

Curatorial Team: Hans De Wolf (Belgium), Cai Meng (China), Ângela Ferreira (Portugal), He Yining (China)

 

Space Design: Sun Hua, Huang Shu, Bo Lin, Zhao Yifeng, Feng Yu

Exhibition Coordination: Gao Gao, Yi Yue

Assistant Team: Huo Dandi, Cai Xinyuan, Deng Yao, Catelyn Welbeck, Du Lin, Chen Menglan, Hu Xiao, Zhu Jiacheng, Su Ji

Display Device Support: BOE Technology Group Co., Ltd

Output Support: Flying Fish Co., Ltd

Archive Support: Jiazuo Bookstore

Publication support: Art Media Resources


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During the event, event participants should respect the order of the museum event and ensure the safety of the museum site, the artworks in displays, exhibitions, and collections, and the derived products. If an event causes any degree of loss or damage to the museum site, space, artworks, or derived products due to an individual, persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for losses. The event participant must negotiate and provide compensation according to the relevant legal statutes and museum rules. The museum may sue for legal and financial liability.

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Event participants will participate in the event under the guidance of museum staff and event leaders or instructors and must correctly use the painting tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities provided for the event. If a participant causes injury or harm to him/herself or others while using the painting tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities, or causes the damage or destruction of the tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities, the event participant must undertake all related liability and provide compensation for the financial losses. Persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for personal accidents.

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According to The Advertising Law of the People’s Republic of China, The General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China, and The Provisional Opinions of the Supreme People’s Court on Some Issues Related to the Full Implementation of the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China, and upon friendly negotiation, Party A and Party B have arrived at the following agreement regarding the use of works bearing Party A’s image in order to clarify the rights and obligations of the portrait licenser (Party A) and the user (Party B):

I. General Provisions

(1) Party A is the portraiture rights holder in this agreement. Party A voluntarily licenses its portraiture rights to Party B for the purposes stipulated in this agreement and permitted by law.

(2) Party B (CAFA Art Museum) is a specialized, international modern art museum. CAFA Art Museum keeps pace with the times, and works to create an open, free, and academic space and atmosphere for positive interaction with groups, corporations, institutions, artists, and visitors. With CAFA’s academic research as a foundation, the museum plans multi-disciplinary exhibitions, conferences, and public education events with participants from around the world, providing a platform for exchange, learning, and exhibition for CAFA’s students and instructors, artists from around the world, and the general public. As a public institution, the primary purposes of CAFA Art Museum’s public education events are academic and beneficial to society.

(3) Party B will photograph all CAFA Public Education Department events for Party A.

II. Content, Forms of Use, and Geographical Scope of Use

(1) Content. The content of images taken by Party B bearing Party A’s likeness include: ① CAFA Art Museum ② CAFA campus ③ All events planned or executed by the CAFAM Public Education Department.

(2) Forms of Use. For use in CAFA’s publications, products with CDs, and promotional materials.

(3) Geographical Scope of Use

The applicable geographic scope is global.

The media in which the portraiture may be used encompasses any media that does not infringe upon Party A’s portraiture rights (e.g., magazines and the internet).

III. Term of Portraiture Rights Use

Use in perpetuity.

IV. Licensing Fees

The fees for images bearing Party A’s likeness will be undertaken by Party B.

After completion, Party B does not need to pay any fees to Party A for images bearing Party A’s likeness.

Additional Terms

(1) All matters not discussed in this agreement shall be resolved through friendly negotiation between both parties. Both parties may then sign a supplementary agreement, provided it does not violate any laws or regulations.

(2) This agreement comes into effect on the date that it is signed (sealed) and the relevant boxes are selected by Party A and Party B.

(3) This agreement exists in paper and electronic forms. The paper form is made in duplicate, with Party A and Party B each retaining one copy with the same legal efficacy.

Event participants implicitly accept and undertake all the obligations stated in this agreement. Those who do not consent will be seen as abandoning the right to participate in this event. Before participating in this event, please speak to your family members to obtain their consent and inform them of this disclaimer. After participants sign/check the required box, participants and their families will be seen as having read and agreed to these terms.

I have carefully read and agree to the above provisions.

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CAFA Art Museum Publication Authorization Agreement

I fully agree to CAFA Art Museum (CAFAM) submitting to CAFA for publication the images, pictures, texts, writings, and event products (such as works created during participation in workshops) related to me from my participation in public events (including museum member events) organized by the CAFA Art Museum Public Education Department. CAFA can publish these materials by electronic, web, or other digital means, and I hereby agree to be included in the China Knowledge Resource Bank, the CAFA Database, the CAFA Art Museum Database, and related data, documentation, and filing institutions and platforms. Regarding their use in CAFA and dissemination on the internet, I agree to make use of these rights according to the stated Rules.

CAFA Art Museum Event Safety Disclaimer

Article I

This event was organized on the principles of fairness, impartiality, and voluntary participation and withdrawal. Participants undertake all risk and liability for themselves. All events have risks, and participants must be aware of the risks related to their chosen event.

Article II

Event participants must abide by the laws and regulations of the People’s Republic of China, as well as moral and ethical norms. All participants must demonstrate good character, respect for others, friendship, and a willingness to help others.

Article III

Event participants should be adults (people 18 years or older with full civil legal capacity). Underage persons must be accompanied by an adult.

Article IV

Event participants undertake all liability for their personal safety during the event, and event participants are encouraged to purchase personal safety insurance. Should an accident occur during an event, persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for the accident, but both have the obligation to provide assistance. Event participants should actively organize and implement rescue efforts, but do not undertake any legal or economic liability for the accident itself. The museum does not undertake civil or joint liability for the personal safety of event participants.

Article V

During the event, event participants should respect the order of the museum event and ensure the safety of the museum site, the artworks in displays, exhibitions, and collections, and the derived products. If an event causes any degree of loss or damage to the museum site, space, artworks, or derived products due to an individual, persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for losses. The event participant must negotiate and provide compensation according to the relevant legal statutes and museum rules. The museum may sue for legal and financial liability.

Article VI

Event participants will participate in the event under the guidance of museum staff and event leaders or instructors and must correctly use the painting tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities provided for the event. If a participant causes injury or harm to him/herself or others while using the painting tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities, or causes the damage or destruction of the tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities, the event participant must undertake all related liability and provide compensation for the financial losses. Persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for personal accidents.

CAFA Art Museum Portraiture Rights Licensing Agreement

According to The Advertising Law of the People’s Republic of China, The General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China, and The Provisional Opinions of the Supreme People’s Court on Some Issues Related to the Full Implementation of the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China, and upon friendly negotiation, Party A and Party B have arrived at the following agreement regarding the use of works bearing Party A’s image in order to clarify the rights and obligations of the portrait licenser (Party A) and the user (Party B):

I. General Provisions

(1) Party A is the portraiture rights holder in this agreement. Party A voluntarily licenses its portraiture rights to Party B for the purposes stipulated in this agreement and permitted by law.

(2) Party B (CAFA Art Museum) is a specialized, international modern art museum. CAFA Art Museum keeps pace with the times, and works to create an open, free, and academic space and atmosphere for positive interaction with groups, corporations, institutions, artists, and visitors. With CAFA’s academic research as a foundation, the museum plans multi-disciplinary exhibitions, conferences, and public education events with participants from around the world, providing a platform for exchange, learning, and exhibition for CAFA’s students and instructors, artists from around the world, and the general public. As a public institution, the primary purposes of CAFA Art Museum’s public education events are academic and beneficial to society.

(3) Party B will photograph all CAFA Public Education Department events for Party A.

II. Content, Forms of Use, and Geographical Scope of Use

(1) Content. The content of images taken by Party B bearing Party A’s likeness include: ① CAFA Art Museum ② CAFA campus ③ All events planned or executed by the CAFAM Public Education Department.

(2) Forms of Use. For use in CAFA’s publications, products with CDs, and promotional materials.

(3) Geographical Scope of Use

The applicable geographic scope is global.

The media in which the portraiture may be used encompasses any media that does not infringe upon Party A’s portraiture rights (e.g., magazines and the internet).

III. Term of Portraiture Rights Use

Use in perpetuity.

IV. Licensing Fees

The fees for images bearing Party A’s likeness will be undertaken by Party B.

After completion, Party B does not need to pay any fees to Party A for images bearing Party A’s likeness.

Additional Terms

(1) All matters not discussed in this agreement shall be resolved through friendly negotiation between both parties. Both parties may then sign a supplementary agreement, provided it does not violate any laws or regulations.

(2) This agreement comes into effect on the date that it is signed (sealed) and the relevant boxes are selected by Party A and Party B.

(3) This agreement exists in paper and electronic forms. The paper form is made in duplicate, with Party A and Party B each retaining one copy with the same legal efficacy.

Event participants implicitly accept and undertake all the obligations stated in this agreement. Those who do not consent will be seen as abandoning the right to participate in this event. Before participating in this event, please speak to your family members to obtain their consent and inform them of this disclaimer. After participants sign/check the required box, participants and their families will be seen as having read and agreed to these terms.

I have carefully read and agree to the above provisions.

Group Visit Agreement
and Statement

CAFA Art Museum Publication Authorization Agreement

I fully agree to CAFA Art Museum (CAFAM) submitting to CAFA for publication the images, pictures, texts, writings, and event products (such as works created during participation in workshops) related to me from my participation in public events (including museum member events) organized by the CAFA Art Museum Public Education Department. CAFA can publish these materials by electronic, web, or other digital means, and I hereby agree to be included in the China Knowledge Resource Bank, the CAFA Database, the CAFA Art Museum Database, and related data, documentation, and filing institutions and platforms. Regarding their use in CAFA and dissemination on the internet, I agree to make use of these rights according to the stated Rules.

CAFA Art Museum Event Safety Disclaimer

Article I

This event was organized on the principles of fairness, impartiality, and voluntary participation and withdrawal. Participants undertake all risk and liability for themselves. All events have risks, and participants must be aware of the risks related to their chosen event.

Article II

Event participants must abide by the laws and regulations of the People’s Republic of China, as well as moral and ethical norms. All participants must demonstrate good character, respect for others, friendship, and a willingness to help others.

Article III

Event participants should be adults (people 18 years or older with full civil legal capacity). Underage persons must be accompanied by an adult.

Article IV

Event participants undertake all liability for their personal safety during the event, and event participants are encouraged to purchase personal safety insurance. Should an accident occur during an event, persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for the accident, but both have the obligation to provide assistance. Event participants should actively organize and implement rescue efforts, but do not undertake any legal or economic liability for the accident itself. The museum does not undertake civil or joint liability for the personal safety of event participants.

Article V

During the event, event participants should respect the order of the museum event and ensure the safety of the museum site, the artworks in displays, exhibitions, and collections, and the derived products. If an event causes any degree of loss or damage to the museum site, space, artworks, or derived products due to an individual, persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for losses. The event participant must negotiate and provide compensation according to the relevant legal statutes and museum rules. The museum may sue for legal and financial liability.

Article VI

Event participants will participate in the event under the guidance of museum staff and event leaders or instructors and must correctly use the painting tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities provided for the event. If a participant causes injury or harm to him/herself or others while using the painting tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities, or causes the damage or destruction of the tools, materials, equipment, and/or facilities, the event participant must undertake all related liability and provide compensation for the financial losses. Persons not involved in the accident and the museum do not undertake any liability for personal accidents.

CAFA Art Museum Portraiture Rights Licensing Agreement

According to The Advertising Law of the People’s Republic of China, The General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China, and The Provisional Opinions of the Supreme People’s Court on Some Issues Related to the Full Implementation of the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China, and upon friendly negotiation, Party A and Party B have arrived at the following agreement regarding the use of works bearing Party A’s image in order to clarify the rights and obligations of the portrait licenser (Party A) and the user (Party B):

I. General Provisions

(1) Party A is the portraiture rights holder in this agreement. Party A voluntarily licenses its portraiture rights to Party B for the purposes stipulated in this agreement and permitted by law.

(2) Party B (CAFA Art Museum) is a specialized, international modern art museum. CAFA Art Museum keeps pace with the times, and works to create an open, free, and academic space and atmosphere for positive interaction with groups, corporations, institutions, artists, and visitors. With CAFA’s academic research as a foundation, the museum plans multi-disciplinary exhibitions, conferences, and public education events with participants from around the world, providing a platform for exchange, learning, and exhibition for CAFA’s students and instructors, artists from around the world, and the general public. As a public institution, the primary purposes of CAFA Art Museum’s public education events are academic and beneficial to society.

(3) Party B will photograph all CAFA Public Education Department events for Party A.

II. Content, Forms of Use, and Geographical Scope of Use

(1) Content. The content of images taken by Party B bearing Party A’s likeness include: ① CAFA Art Museum ② CAFA campus ③ All events planned or executed by the CAFAM Public Education Department.

(2) Forms of Use. For use in CAFA’s publications, products with CDs, and promotional materials.

(3) Geographical Scope of Use

The applicable geographic scope is global.

The media in which the portraiture may be used encompasses any media that does not infringe upon Party A’s portraiture rights (e.g., magazines and the internet).

III. Term of Portraiture Rights Use

Use in perpetuity.

IV. Licensing Fees

The fees for images bearing Party A’s likeness will be undertaken by Party B.

After completion, Party B does not need to pay any fees to Party A for images bearing Party A’s likeness.

Additional Terms

(1) All matters not discussed in this agreement shall be resolved through friendly negotiation between both parties. Both parties may then sign a supplementary agreement, provided it does not violate any laws or regulations.

(2) This agreement comes into effect on the date that it is signed (sealed) and the relevant boxes are selected by Party A and Party B.

(3) This agreement exists in paper and electronic forms. The paper form is made in duplicate, with Party A and Party B each retaining one copy with the same legal efficacy.

Event participants implicitly accept and undertake all the obligations stated in this agreement. Those who do not consent will be seen as abandoning the right to participate in this event. Before participating in this event, please speak to your family members to obtain their consent and inform them of this disclaimer. After participants sign/check the required box, participants and their families will be seen as having read and agreed to these terms.

I have carefully read and agree to the above provisions.

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