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Swedish photo museum lifts shutters on first Asian outpost

By He Qi in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-03 07:56

Visitors are touring a solo exhibition of artist Feng Li at Fotografiska in Shanghai. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Fotografiska, a Swedish contemporary museum of photography, art and culture that originated in Stockholm, opened a branch in Shanghai on Oct 21.

Located in a four-story historical landmark building, overlooking Suzhou Creek, it is Fotografiska's first outpost in Asia.

It includes exhibition spaces, a concept store, a restaurant and a bar that will open until 11 pm every day to cater to the after-work crowd.

"It was always obvious for us that we wanted to be in Shanghai in order to be in China. We think that China has made huge contributions to the vocabulary of imagery and visual language, and we want to be where much of this comes from," says Yoram Roth, chairman of the Fotografiska Group.

The concept store at Fotografiska. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Founded in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2010, Fotografiska also has branches in Tallinn in Estonia, New York in the United States and Berlin in Germany.

Christian Devillers, managing director of Fotografiska China, says that the brand concept revolves around encouraging people to visit the exhibitions before discussing what they've seen with friends over coffee or a meal.

"We think that going to an exhibition should be like going to the movies. So, come and visit a show, and then have a drink to talk about it," he says.

According to Devillers, the lounge space located on the upper levels of the center is inspired by the Nordic lifestyle and serves organic wines and a variety of other beverages. The restaurant downstairs will be more contemporary in nature, and offers alfresco dining along the river and the street.

"The public in Shanghai is younger; we will have to take that into consideration in terms of the type of exhibitions we do, the food we serve, the products we retail," Devillers adds.

Finding the ideal location to set up the Swedish brand's Shanghai outpost was not easy, he says.

"It is hard for us to share the space with others, because we want to be able to change the layout, move the restaurant, and expand an exhibition when we need to," he says, adding that finding the historical building next to the Suzhou Creek was lucky, as it resembles the site of the original museum in Stockholm.

Artist Fan Xi's work. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The opening shows feature the work of four outstanding artists: Feng Li, Edward Burtynsky, Fan Xi, and Samson Young.

Devillers says that Fotografiska will focus on working with young, emerging photographers, as well as those already well-established in Shanghai.

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