UCCA Beijing

The Visual Tension of Historical Moments – China and the Rest of the World in Liu Heung Shing’s Photography


Location:  Workshop

On June 30 2019, Liu Heung Shing, photojournalist and founder of the Shanghai Center of Photography, and Kuo Li-Hsin, professor of communications at National Chengchi University, Taiwan, will have a conversation about the artistic value of photojournalism, centered around Liu’s works over the past few decades. Philip Tinari, Director and CEO of UCCA, will host the conversation, which is co-organized by FTChinese.

Since its launch by the renowned German publisher Steidl earlier this year, Liu Heung Shing’s latest photo book A Life in a Sea of Red has become a worldwide phenomenon. With a selection of Liu’s most characteristic works from 1976 to 2017, the book has been extensively reported on by the press, including coverage in The New York Times, Financial Times and Time magazine. Meanwhile, “Spring Breeze,” Liu Heung Shing’s solo exhibition held earlier this year at Star Gallery in Beijing, has proved to be a catalyst for the reexamination of photojournalism. Far away from major news events, the photographs in the exhibition, which focused on showing the everyday life of ordinary people during the first years of China’s Reform and Opening-Up, have more clearly revealed Liu Heung Shing’s distinctive personal aesthetic.


Liu Heung Shing (Photojournalist, Founder of the Shanghai Center of Photography)

Born in 1951 in Hong Kong, founded the Shanghai Center of Photography in 2015, lives and works in Shanghai, China. Liu Heung Shing first apprenticed at Life magazine in the mid-1970s where he was inspired and influenced by the legendary team of Life photographers, including Gjon Mili. Later, for Time magazine and the AP, Liu worked first in Beijing, with subsequent postings to Los Angeles, New Delhi, Seoul and Moscow. Liu’s photographs of the rise of China and the collapse of the Soviet Union have been recognized with multiple awards, including a Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography in 1992. In 2004, Paris Photo named Liu as one of the hundred most influential people in contemporary photography.

Kuo Li-Hsin (Professor at College of Communication, and Dean of the Office of Research and Development at National Chengchi University, Taiwan)

Critic of photography and documentary film, and PhD in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is currently Professor at College of Communication, and Dean of the Office of Research and Development at National Chengchi University, Taiwan. His juror experiences for various photography and film competitions include: Excellence Award (photojournalism category), Wu Shuen-wen Photojournalism Award, Taiwan International Documentary Festival, Golden Horse Awards, Taipei Film Festival, Chinese Documentary Festival, Fresh Wave Short Film Festival, HK, The Beijing Independent Film Festival, etc. Recent publications include More Writings on Photography (2013), Reading Photography: Critical Essays by Kuo Li-Hsin (2014), Interrogating Reality:Politics and De-politicization of Documentary Film (2014), and Manufacturing Meaning: Discourse, Power and Cultural Politics in Realist Photography (2018).

Philip Tinari (Director and CEO of UCCA Center for Contemporary Art)

Philip Tinari is Director and CEO of UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, one of China’s leading institutions of contemporary art. Since joining in 2011, he has led its transformation from a founder-owned private museum into an accredited museum across multiple locations, a public foundation, and a family of art-driven enterprises. During his tenure, UCCA has mounted more than seventy exhibitions and thousands of public programs, bringing artistic voices established and emerging, Chinese and international, to an audience of over a million visitors each year. Having written extensively on contemporary art in China, he was co-curator of the 2017 exhibition “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.


FTChinese is the Financial Times‘ Chinese language website, providing unrivalled news and information to China’s top business executives and decision makers. The FT’s international team of journalists has access to senior corporate executives and politicians both in China and around the world, making it a must read for China’s business leaders. FTChinese has over 2.8 million registered users and is also available via iOS, Android and Windows platforms. In April 2018, FTChinese launched its paid-for subscription service.


About the Financial Times:

The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news organizations, recognized internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. The FT marks 130 years in 2018 with a record paying readership of more than 940,000, approximately three-quarters of which are digital subscriptions.