“Photo Macau is a celebration of the new way to share and communicate” | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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“Photo Macau is a celebration of the new way to share and communicate”

Johann Nowak, Fair director, Photo Macau
(Courtesy: Photo Macau)

All photo aficionados out there, there’s good news as Photo Macau, one of Asia’s newest international fine art fairs dedicated to photography and video, is all set to open its doors, welcoming all art and photo lovers to Macau. Scheduled to begin from March 24 through March 26, the fair will have the presence of some eminent artists like Jeffrey Shaw, Tamas Waliczky, Tobia Gremmbler, Zhenchen Liu and collectors such as Mario von Kelterborn, Stephan Amling and Steve Hung, to mention a few. Though it’s just the beginning, but with celebrities being around, the fair, surely, has a lot in store for its visitors. To get a feel, Blouinartinfo.com got in touch with Johann Nowak, Fair director, Photo Macau, and an independent curator, to find out the challenges faced by the team behind Photo Macau to make it an event to remember. Edited excerpts:


What made you choose Macau as a location for the fair?

First and foremost, because of the founder and executive director Cecilia Ho’s enthusiasm and persuasion, we decided to have this fair here in Macau. As a destination, Macau occupies a unique place in the greater delta region where all cities are increasingly interconnected. It is no longer the quiet backwater port but a thriving city which has become a key tourist and cultural hub in the region. We are quite certain that Macau has real potential to become an art destination and we see this as a perfect opportunity.

What do you think is the USP of Photo Macau?

We feel it’s not only just about a new appealing destination but also our detailed focus on photography, digital image and VR, besides offering the artists working in these fields a truly dedicated platform, which could be seen as some, among many, as our strong points.

What’s the objective behind Photo Macau?

Needless to say, photography has now become a universal language, one which needs no translation and often surpasses words: you no longer recommend a restaurant to your friends, you simply send a photo of your plate! Isn’t it? There’s no doubt that images do bring people together.

We want Photo Macau to be a celebration of this new way to share and communicate. A platform bringing artists from all over the world, exploring the full potential of images whether still or moving, real or virtual. Photo Macau is there to support and promote galleries that pursue the same objectives and help them reach new audiences. In that respect, digitalization represents a powerful opportunity to make artworks accessible to all art lovers.

What do you think will draw people from across the globe to this event?  

Photo Macau’s first program is a statement of our intent dedicated to a high quality of galleries and artists in an ambitious program of exhibitions, installations and an international symposium. Photo Macau will open its gates this weekend and we look forward to welcome all art and photo lovers in the region to Macau. 

What were the main challenges you encountered while making this event happen, considering it’s quite a new one in this region?

There are some challenges faced in any new venture when there is a minimal record or reference to support your claims. Exhibitors are presented with a lot of opportunities around the world, and every exhibition represents an investment that comes with their share of risks and rewards. Galleries naturally approach a new fair with caution and curiosity, depending on the market, calendar and individual growth. In fact, they also seek comfort from other galleries’ decisions and peer recommendations.   

Could you please share a bit about photographers, curators, collectors and art lovers who will eventually be a part of this event?  

Frankly, there’ll be many but to name some of the curators, Photo Macau will have Charles Merewether, Joerg Bader, Gregory Lang, Nathalie Shin, Emerson Wang, artists like Jeffrey Shaw, Tamas Waliczky, Tobia Gremmbler, Zhenchen Liu, (among others) and collectors who include Mario von Kelterborn, Stephan Amling and Steve Hung.  

As this is one of the newest international fairs, what do you think exhibitors and visitors will actually be able to attain from this event?

We are confident that our exhibitors will attract public attention because of the high quality of their works and the curiosity surrounding a new event. We are also confident that the response from the visitors will encourage our partners to support Photo Macau as we continue to develop and expand.

Do you think the way Art Basel made Hong Kong visible on the global map, Photo Macau would be able to turn around things for Macau?

That, we think, only the future will tell. Art fairs including Art Basel in Hong Kong did not happen overnight, but we do aim to share our appreciation, knowledge and enthusiasm for photography, new media and digital art with the audiences in Macau, Hong Kong and the region. 

Any future plans for Photo Macau? 

Our ambition is to make Photo Macau an annual event that will grow as we earn recognition. Possible partnerships with other events in the greater delta region and beyond in China and Asia could be explored in the future.

Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek.