China Conversation

An exhibition on the outside walls of the gallery, curated by Sian Bonnell.

Sian Bonnel comments: Here, we present fresh still and moving imagery from young photographers studying at four selected universities in China:  Nanjing University of the Arts, Dalian Medical University, Zheijiang Fashion Institute Ningbo and Wuhan Institute of Design.

Running through the work is a sense of enquiry into how we can approach the camera in different ways. The exhibition offers an overview of the concerns and interests of these new practitioners, giving a glimpse into different ways of seeing: from the commercial to the conceptual.

One question that many of the young photographers seem to be responding to is what exactly constitutes photography in the 21st century? The rise of smartphones and the ease of sharing images online has changed how we understand the nature of still and moving imagery.

To navigate this, photographers must continually question how pictures are consumed and shared today. It is an ongoing conversation,and here we show some of the voices within it.

Since 2014 I have been invited to exhibit new photographic work selected from sixteen UK universities for Pingyao International Photography Festival (PIP) in China. PIP is the oldest and largest photography festival of its kind and is held every year in September. Although the festival is fairly traditional in concept, its reach within China is enormous and I have been surprised and delighted each year by the responses provoked by our exhibitions.

It has been a pleasure to build strong relationships and trust with colleagues from Chinese Universities and I am so happy that we are able to showcase this tiny selection of emerging work from China here. It is fascinating to see versions of the same debates and issues that motivate UK students featuring in the work here, intertwined with approaches that are distinct to the culture of China: chinese painting for example, or the look and style of contemporary artists such as the late Ren Hang.


Further information:
  • Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday 10.30 am to 5.30 pm; closed on Mondays (except Bank Holidays)
  • This is  free exhibition
  • Location: Open Eye Gallery, 19 Mann Island, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool, Merseyside L3 1BP; Tel: 0151 236 6768; email: 
  • How to get there: Walking – the Gallery is located at the heart of the Liverpool Waterfront, a short walk from the Liverpool One shopping centre and the Albert Dock; By train –  20-minute walk from Lime Street station – Liverpool’s mainline railway station; James Street station, served by Wirral Line trains, is a two minute walk. Moorfields station, served by the Northern and Wirral Lines, is a five-minute walk; By Bus – the nearest bus station is at Liverpool ONE, but some buses drop off at the Pier Head, right next door to the gallery; By Ferry– a two-minute walk from the Pier Head Ferry Terminal; By Car – follow the brown signs to the Waterfront. The nearest multi-storey car park is Q-Park at Liverpool ONE, 35 Strand Street, Liverpool, L1 8LT