The Entente Cordiale is alive and well in Beijing... Photospring, the Sino-French photography festival, opened in Caochangdi today, and one of its three main exhibitions is a Brian Griffin retrospective. We chipped in with some money to bring him over. Nice guy, lots in common. His work is fantastic, very diverse and with layers & layers of meaning & background, particularly the more personal portraits. Many of these refer to his childhood and the working-class life of the Black Country in the Midlands where he grew up. They're meticulously staged with actors standing in for his parents or re-staging Old Masters paintings but with local characters 'presenting' alternative histories.
He also did - and this is how I first came across his work - loads of album sleeves in the 80s: Depeche Mode, Echo & the Bunnymen, Iggy Pop... He's also a big Krautrock fan and regaled me with stories about his times with Conny Plank and Can.
There was also the usual interesting display of the Three Shadows annual photography competition. And a beautiful if somewhat disturbing exhibition by the Japanese photographer Hisaji Hara which took the French artist Balthus's Lolita-esque paintings and turned them into incredibly atmospheric, painstakingly posed photographs with a mid-20th Century Japanese vibe.