Modu Magazine: A Tale of Urban China

“LOOK Photo Biennial – Chapter II” : A Photographic Dialogue

On October 17th, Chapter II of the LOOK Photo Biennial was launched in Liverpool. Displaying works from photographers across the world, LOOK Photo Biennial aims to unlock international dialogue through the power of images. Following Chapter I, TRANSPLANT (June-September), Chapter II has two themes – TRANSLATE looks at how the present is understood through photography, while TRANSITION displays works that help forecast and shape the future. 

The program especially features works from Chinese photographers. They explore shifting urban landscapes, as in Sun Yanchu works or Yan Wang Preston’s award-winning project Forest, which follows the development of transplanted trees in an attempt to recreate ‘natural’ landscapes within Chinese cities. The exhibition Brilliant City, showcasing the works of urban photographers Haohan Zheng, Cuilixin, and Ratsberry, portrays the expansion and mutation of cities and the emergence of new urban spaces. A two-days conference on “Urban transformations and contemporary art in China” at Tate Liverpool completes this exploration on the significance of urban mutations and their impacts on artistic practices.

Photographers also explore the expression of Chinese identity in urban life. The project He, by Yan Wang Preston, portrays Mandarin-speaking students living in Liverpool, and their approach of gender and masculinity. Derek Man and Tobias Brebner explore Liverpool’s Chinatown, depicting the sense of identity and place of its inhabitants within the city, from older generations to newcomers.

The 2019 LOOK Photo Biennial marks the 20th anniversary of the Shanghai-Liverpool twinning cities, which has helped creating bridges between communities in both countries. The exhibition JUMP!, displaying works from UK and China fashion imagery graduates, shows dialogue between students, while Fast Forward: Women in Photography shows the solidarity between women photographers fighting for more recognition, both in the UK and China. The Biennial is an expression of the cultural bridges that photography can create, as is the case between the UK and China. By Gwenaëlle Brandelet, edited by Jérémie Descamps



Photography & urban transformations


October 17, 2019 to December 22, 2019


Open Eye Gallery and various venues in Liverpool & surroundings


Open Eye Gallery

Artists (list non exhaustive):

Anna Ridler, Yan Wang Preston, Maisie Cousins, Alix Marie, Othello De’Souza-Hartley, Jonny Briggs, Mandy Barker, Siân Davey, Sun Yanchu, Jiang Pengyi, Wu Yue, Fan Xi, Qin Yifeng, Chen Zhe, Derek Man, Tobias Brebner, Karen Knorr, Anna Fox, Dinu Li, Haohan Zheng, Cuilixin, and Ratsberry, 50 photographers from Manchester Metropolitan University, Wuhan Institute of Design, Central St Martins and Zheijang Institute

Curators (list non exhaustive):

Lindsay Taylor, Thomas Dukes, Serein Liu, Sian Bonnell, John van Aitken


Wirral Borough of Culture, University of Salford Art Collection and RedEye


Arts Council England, Liverpool City Council and The Foyle Foundation

Exhibition travelling:

Date: December 8th – February 9th, Venue: Shanghai Center of Photography


Two-days conference on “Urban transformations and contemporary art in China”, 11 & 12 of November, 2019, at Tate Liverpool

  • 2019/10/17 - 2019/12/22

  • Liverpool

  • Open Eye Gallery