Open Eye Gallery exhibit a snapshot of the state of art in UK and China today. Forming the centre of LOOK Photo Biennial 2019, Peer to Peer is a group show of 14 artists, selected by 14 curators from across the UK and China. In Liverpool, the exhibition will take place across Open Eye Gallery and the vaulted basement of St George’s Hall; it will also be shown at Shanghai Centre of Photography in February. The exhibition platforms artists on the verge of major international recognition.
From the UK, Anna Ridler presents her AI-generated projects Mosaic Virus and Tulips, based on handmade image datasets and recently shown as part of the Barbican’s AI: More than Human.Excerpts from Forest, Yan Wang Preston’s recent Sony World Photo Award-winning work will also feature, charting the construction of ‘natural’ landscapes in China. Maisie Cousins began as a Tumblr photographer and was recently named in the DAZED 100 — her sickly-sweet photographic style uses close-ups of everyday objects to make lucid images in which attraction and repulsion collide powerfully.
Orlando by Alix Marie sits somewhere between photography and sculpture: Body parts are crumpled and piled up into a large mound of warped body parts. Othello De’Souza-Hartley’s work unpicks contemporary masculinity, looking at how and why men feel compelled to perform a gender role. Jonny Briggs’ Unpalatable Truths is an unnerving, surreal examination of the cover-up of child abuse on the island of Jersey. Mandy Barker’s Soup tackles the accumulation of plastics in earth’s oceans; she meticulously collects plastic objects from beaches around the world and presents them as constellations, exposing the growing threat to marine and terrestrial life. Siân Davey’s years working as a psychotherapist shine through her photography, which charts the delicate balances of family life.
Fan Xi’s Tree consists of images made from photographing hundreds of trees from many angles, and stitching the photos together into a single organism. The dreamy, buoyant images of Jiang Pengyi’s In Some Time are made without a camera — the artist manipulates darkroom techniques to paint with faint, chemically-created light. Chen Zhe’s Towards Evening seeks to chart people’s slippery relationship with the twilight time between day and night, offering attempts to capture the fading of the day through photos and fleeting text.
Wu Yue looks at the second life of previously popular places, capturing a former nightclub that has now become a nursing home. The stark black and white photographs of Sun Yanchu are loaded with surrealism, showing the strange scenarios that arise in a landscape of urban decay. Playing with the chemical origins of photography, Qin Yifeng captures objects through a process of long exposure, presenting them in negative — through the ghostly shadows the scenes leave on the film.
Peer to Peer is FREE to enter and curated by Lindsay Taylor (University of Salford Art Collection), Thomas Dukes (Open Eye Gallery) and Serein Liu (independent curator, based in Shanghai). It is produced in partnership with University of Salford Art Collection, and supported by Branding Shanghai and Shanghai Municipal Government.