For the first time, Leica Camera AG is partner of “Photo Shanghai”, Asia’s premier art fair dedicated to fine art photography
Leica Camera AG will be represented at Photo Shanghai in China for the first time. Last year, the international art fair, which focuses on fine art photography, celebrated its première. Because of the resounding success, it will return to the Chinese metropolis from 11 to 13 September 2015. In the Shanghai Exhibition Centre (SEC), under the theme “China through the Leica lens”, Leica will present historical aerial photographs of China captured by the Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen in the 1930s, contemporary images of Chinese landscapes by HG Esch, and a personal documentation of China entitled “Traces of Humanity” by up-and-coming photographer Jing Huang.
Approximately 80 years ago, German aviation pioneer Wulf-Diether Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen (1905–1980) was the first European to document China from a bird’s-eye view. He gave viewers a better understanding of the imposing mountain ranges of the Himalayas, the orderly chaos of boats on the Yangtze River, and the austere geometry of the Forbidden City. To a large extent, the China of the 1930s that the Count documented from his aeroplane with a Leica camera no longer exists.
Following Photo Shanghai, the exhibition will be shown in other Chinese museums and galleries to commemorate this period of Chinese history. Leica Camera AG will subsequently donate the works to the “National Library of China” in Beijing.
Allowing viewers to compare now and then, these photographs are exhibited alongside contemporary images by renowned architectural photographer Hans-Georg Esch. The contrast between the two bodies of work reveals the extreme transformation of China. Esch’s large-format photographs, which were taken with the Leica S pro camera and the help of a drone, show aerial views of China’s current boom cities. Esch was able to successfully photograph some of the landscapes captured by Castell-Rüdenhausen in the 1930s, offering viewers the opportunity to see how the landscape has changed over time.
With his pictures, Esch builds on his famous series “Megacities”, “City and Structure”, and “Cities Unknown”, which depict the rapid growth of urban cities – particularly in Asia – from high vantage points such as mountaintops or the rooftops of high rises. The particular choice of perspective as well as the focus that reveals the smallest details in the city allows viewers to immerse themselves in these strange worlds. With the use of a drone, Hans-Georg Esch reveals even more perspectives. The degree of precision and freedom would be unthinkable from an aeroplane or helicopter. Nevertheless, the technology is well suited to the artist’s mode of operation and allows him to master his motifs.
In “Traces of Humanity”, Chinese photographer and winner of the 2011 Leica Oscar Barnack Newcomer Award Jing Huang shows poetic impressions of everyday situations in his homeland with a certain degree of melancholy. His paintings mainly include elements of classical Chinese landscapes. In the style of traditional Chinese painting, the expression of emotional moods is in the foreground. Jing Huang transfers this principle to his work in order to create a more poetic form of photography – a kind of visual poetry. For this, he uses a black and white colour palette, which helps him to transform his observations into multifaceted compositions. The images featured in his series were created in 2014 and 2015 using cameras from the Leica M series.
HG Esch and Jing Huang will both attend Photo Shanghai. They are available for interviews.
About Photo Shanghai
This year, Photo Shanghai will take place for the second time. It is already one of the most important art fairs in Asia and organised by the World Photography Organisation (WPO). Photo Shanghai is organised within the framework of Shanghai Art Week, which takes place in the second week of September and brings highlights of contemporary art into the city. “After the unforeseen success of last year’s fair, we look forward to featuring an even broader selection of photographic work – represented by some of the most prestigious galleries in the world”, explains Alexander Montague-Sparey, curator of the photo exhibition. The exhibition programme ranges from valuable classics to modern masterpieces. It provides nearly 50 internationally renowned galleries an attractive platform to present themselves and sell selected works of photography. In addition, works of legendary photographers such as Elliott Erwitt, René Burri, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Helmut Newton will be on display as well as works by the celebrated Italian photographer Giovanni Castel and Chinese artist Yang Fudong.
Photo Shanghai will take place in the centrally located Shanghai Exhibition Centre (SEC). The exhibition area of Leica Camera AG is located in the East Wing (Featured Exhibitions). On September 10, Leica invites selected guests to a private viewing. The exhibition is open to the general pubic between 11 and 13 September from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.
HG Esch (featured photographer): HG Esch was born in 1964 in Neuwied, Rhineland-Palatinate and studied photography. Since 1989, he has been working as a freelance architectural photographer for national and international architectural firms and has meanwhile made a name for himself in his field. In addition to commercial work, he has created art to show his views of the city. His work has been exhibited internationally and published in books such as “City and Structure” and “Cities Unknown”. Esch lives and works in Hennef, Stadt Blankenberg. More information: http://www.hgesch.de/home
Jing Huang (featured photographer): Jing Huang was born in 1987 in the metropolis of Guangzhou in southern China. He studied photography at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts until 2010. He now lives in Shenzhen, where he works as a photographer. The city, which is mostly known for its factories and the highest per capita income of the country, borders Hong Kong to the North and is often associated with the glaring abundance of plastic products. While many photographers accentuate this, Huang dispensed with the use of such stereotypes in order to avoid giving the impression that the country is defined solely by its industry.
The “fine art” photographer Jing Huang is known for his paintings that feature many classic elements of Chinese landscape painting. With a Leica camera, a gift from his mother, he has captured poetic reflections of contemporary China: “When I’m out with my camera, I really only follow my intuition. I prefer capturing subjects in an emotional way”. In 2011, Jing Huang was awarded the Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award for his “Pure of Sight” series. More information: http://huangjingart.com/
Wulf-Diether Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen
Wulf-Diether Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen was born in Berlin in 1905. While studying law in Munich, he received a pilot’s licence for three-engine aeroplanes and seaplanes at the Deutsche Verkehrs-fliegerschule (German Pilot School). At the age of 25, he became a pilot for Lufthansa. Between 1933 and 1936, he was to build a continuous air traffic network in China. This pioneering work gave rise to the unique aerial photographs that were published in the 1938 book “Chinaflug” (China flight). After his stay in China, the Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen returned to Lufthansa and continued to build routes. After various posts as a pilot, he became managing director of Flughafen München GmbH in 1949 at the age of 44. In nearly 24 years of service as managing director, the Count of Castell-Rüdenhausen created a world-class airport and headed the planning of a new major airport in Munich. In 1971, he survived a bomb attack completely unharmed. The perpetrators were never caught. Castell-Rüdenhausen died in 1980.
About Leica Camera
Leica Camera AG is an internationally operating, premium-segment manufacturer of cameras and sport optics products. The legendary status of the Leica brand is founded on a long tradition of excellence in the construction of lenses. And today, in combination with innovative technologies, Leica products continue to guarantee better pictures in all situations in the worlds of visualisation and perception. Leica Camera AG has its headquarters in Wetzlar, in the state of Hesse in Germany, and a second production site in Vila Nova de Famalicão, Portugal. The company operates branch offices in Australia, China, France, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, South Korea, UK and the USA. New and innovative products have been the driving force behind the company’s positive development in recent years.