Sunday, March 09, 2008

A visit to 50 Moganshan Road

After the visit to 50 Moganshan Road, I am surprised that actually it is not far away from my home, but I have never heard about such a place before that, because the idea of exploring personal art galleries and museums has almost never occurred to me. 50 Moganshan Road is actually a place called “Shanghai Creative Industry Clustering Park” where many modern artists from both home and abroad establish their own working offices and non –profit exhibition halls. Located along the Suzhou Creek, it has a reputation as “La Gauche de la Seine”,. Sometimes I wonder why so many galleries are rebuilt on the basis of old factories, perhaps that’s because factories can provide space big enough to hold large-scale exhibitions, but to some extent, the restructure of the old factories represents the characteristics of Shanghai as a metropolis: attaching importance to the traditional culture while encouraging innovation. So the visit offered me a good opportunity to further explore both the cultural and historical elements in Shanghai, my hometown, from a brand-new perspective.

During the visit, we made our way to BizArt, H-Space, Eastlink Gallery, Shanghart Gallery. In Art Hub, a lecture was given to introduce an interesting supermarket which sold only products of arts, for examples, T-shirts with special images on them, a camera which can make the photos look like as they are separated into several parts… after the supermarket was declared to open, people swarmed into it .Although the prices were not low, crowds of people were willing to buy the goods as if they were free of charge. Also in the short video, people are interviewed by asking some questions such as “Why do you choose to buy the products of arts”. That also made me rethink on the function of arts. I think that most people buy a lot art goods because they are curious about this new kind of products which they have never seen before. Art does not belong to a group of people, in fact, everyone has the right to enjoy or even create arts. Innovative and creative thoughts are necessary to arts, and even abstract arts can be put into our daily life, creating a sense of freshness and happiness. I believe that if I happen to discover an art supermarket like the one in the video, I will be willing to choose some products of course.

Actually I was most impressed by the works of WeiGuangqing. In his works “100 Surnames”, “Art of War” and “the Zhu’s Family Rules”, he combined the traditional Chinese literature and ancient books with the form of modern art. Take Zhu’s Family Rules as an example, it was created in Song Dynasty, once playing an important role in instructing the younger generations, even now, more or less, it still has an impact on the way of educating children in China. In the exhibition hall, both the ancient original edition and Wei’s work were displayed so that we can get a comparison, in Wei’s works, the original edition was transformed into a new form of Pop Art, which is very popular among young people in western countries in 1950s. Featured by bright colors and consecutive traditional Chinese- style illustrations, Wei’s works reflected his personal thoughts on creating a balance between traditional Chinese culture and contemporary art. In such a society based on commercial civilization, traditional Chinese ethic wisdom can be used as a guide to instruct the behaviors of the people.

I was also impressed by other works such as the Mural of Yuan Dynasty ( it made me feel as if I were stepping into a temple), the traditional Chinese painting of landscape on one’s back, the images of bubbles in ShuYong’s works, and the ridiculous camel head…… anyway, M50 really worths a further exploration.

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