Thursday, March 20, 2008

50 Moganshan lu (BizArt, Eastlink, ShanghArt, Island6)

For our Contemporary Art class on Thursday, March 5th we went to go visit the art center of Shanghai - 50 Moganshan lu. We visited three of the more well known art centers in Moganshan50 - BizArt, Eastlink and ShanghArt. Oh and I almost forgot to mention that we briefly visited Island6 which is near 50 Moganshan lu but tends to do more new media installations (LEDs and such).

We started out by visiting BizArt where we talked with one of the people in charge, we also watched a video about one of the first contemporary art exhibitions in China about 10 years ago. It was interesting to see that this occurred 10 years ago and it was definitely a neat exhibition. It started out by starting with everyone who attended the exhibition entering through a market that sold art created by the artists (various objects, most quite fun looking). The exhibition itself had some interesting pieces but I was most fascinated with the way it was presented to the public. I think that it was a great concept, having the market first as an entrance to the exhibition as well as making it well publicized to the public. There wasn't a specific exhibition in BizArt at the time but we learned a bit about its history through the video and the worker (They also had a net up for what looked like badminton, definitely looked like fun!). You could also tell that they didn't sell any of the work that they created, they didn't have the heat on in the building and overall it wasn't very extravagant (although it did work, it just contrasted with what we would see next at EastLink next). I also was able to ask the worker about the 1999 exhibition and he said that it was all self-funded, it's interesting to note that they've just moved away from this about 2 years ago which is awesome for them.

Next we went on to Eastlink which was nicer inside and the quality of the productions was very impressive. There was a varied set of pieces and they were all intriguing. (You could tell that this place sold the art, because of the quality of the art and the space itself). One of the pieces that I thought was really cool was the piece of all the people in the offices with bubbles in each room - I just thought that the way the piece came out looked awesome. There was also a fascination with boobs here, one of the artists had created this extremely exaggerated set of boobs that was in several places around the space (I wasn't quite sure what to make of them lol).

Then we headed onto ShanghArt which had some real high quality art. I thought that the pieces here were extremely well done, don't know if I really understood every message the artist was trying to get across but the pieces themselves I thought were beautiful. We also saw a preview to the opening of an exhibition where we saw some art that mixed some old Chinese history with new art styles which was interesting as well - although it wasn't my favorite.

On our way out we passed by Island6 and checked it out and I was intrigued as this place has to deal with more new media installations. They had some interesting pieces with LEDs used to create people, that would move across a picture in the background behind a painting/photo. They also had two games of Pong setup that used some interesting control devices (one used foot pedals) and another used a sort of a switch that you would push in the direction you wanted the bar to move. Definitely worth visiting again.

Overall, the places that we visited were impressive and I thought the art was pretty high quality. The place also seems to be teeming with other art places and art in general so I don't think you could visit everything going on at once in one go (It'd probably take a while to get to see everything), so at one thought that's really cool, but it would be easy to get overwhelmed there trying to see everything. Definitely worth your time to visit 50 Moganshan lu though!

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