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1st Beijing Photo Biennial

Aura and Post Aura

Festival: – 8 Dec 2013

Beijing World Art Museum & China Millennium Monument

9a Fuxing Lu, Haidian

+86-10-5980 2222


Daily 9-18

Photography and film are relatively new media but it is impossible to imagine a world without them. We use them in our everyday life in the communication of art, media and culture. The impact of photography and film on modern society will be one of the discussion points during the first edition of the Beijing Photo Biennial. The biennial was formerly launched during the 2013 Beijing Photography Week last February. The First Beijing Photo Biennial is organized by the Ministry of Culture and the Beijing Municipal Government in association with the CAFA Art Museum. And this first edition will have some Dutch flavor.

‘Aura and Post Aura’ is the chosen theme for the first edition of the biennial. The theme refers to the work of German philosopher Walter Benjamin (1892-1940). In his Artistic Aesthetics System, Benjamin describes ‘Aura’ as an appearance or magical force arising from historical works of art. The aura creates a sensory experience of distance between the reader and the work. According to Benjamin, this aura can no longer be found in modern works of art because it has become reproducible.

These days everyone has access to art. Think of buying a poster of a painting in a museum or viewing images of an architectural building on the internet. The discussion point of this year’s biennial is whether Aura can truly not be found in the “dark digital area” anymore. Art may no longer be exclusive but the digital age made art and culture accessible to a large audience, and photography and film made us aware of issues on the other side of the world.

The First Beijing Photo Biennial consists of 4 sessions: Theme Exhibition, International Exhibition, Nomination Exhibition and Collection Exhibition. The International Exhibition is called ‘Points on The Map’. This exhibition showcases Western documentary photographers and filmmakers whose work shows conflicts concerning politics, war, culture and economics. These subjects are a new concern for Chinese photographers. The unit of Points on The Map collects the most active factors in Western photography in recent years, and integrated the newly emerged phenomena and trends into an independent theme exhibition, in order to demonstrate a referential and open thinking, together with globalized vision.

The first edition of the Beijing Photo Biennial will be held at the China Millennium Monument from October 24th till December 7th this year.