Wednesday, May 21, 2008


After walking to the end of the long “nongtang”(lane) on Fuxing zhong Road, I finally found a small label which indicated the location of Art+Shanghai. Actually, this place made me recall the visit to the Propaganda Poster Center, both of them changed the small living apartments into the exhibition halls.

Yvon and I got there in the morning since we did not know that the gallery opens from 1pm to 6pm, still we were welcomed by a friendly Spanish lady when she knew that we came here to visit for the love of art.

The on-going exhibition was called “PostTraditional”. The Cultural Revolution advocated revolutionary realism, using propaganda poster as a tool to romanticize socialism. Meanwhile, it brought a rejection of thousands of years of traditional Chinese painting, considered to be a counter-revolutionary form of art. As China opened up to the rest of the world, a generation of artists born in the 70's had grown up in an internationalized environment far from the Cultural Revolution. This radical social evolution brought new references as well as new problems in the country's artistic production. Rapid westernization created a feeling of alienation for a lot of Chinese, and the development of a new model that did not take root in the country's history called for a search for identity for many artists. The intention of bridging the gap between the traditional Chinese brush painting and contemporary art gave birth to this exhibition.

I was impressed by Yao Lu’s photographs series. The first glance of the photos made me think that they had no difference from the traditional paintings of mountains and waters. When I came near to look more closely for details, the pictures turned to be an urban landscape of construction sites.

He Jian’s works showed us the contemporary urban life. However, the figures in his pictures looked a bit like the pictures of Buddha which can usually be seen in temples. The materials and colors he used also tried to show that they were very old. His works were the combination of the past and the present, the western-style and traditional Chinese style. Imagine how interesting is when people who have Buddha-like faces wear western-style wedding dress.

Art+Shanghai was first situated in Moganshan Road, and then it moved to this place, occupying a small room in a quiet and intimate atmosphere. Galleries in Moganshan Road were transformed from old factories while Art-Shanghai was transformed from a living apartment. For this reason, Art-Shanghai seems a room next to your door.

When we were about to leave, the grace lady even gave us the pamphlets and leaflets free of charge which were originally for sale. We were impressed by her generosity, as well as this small intimate artistic world.

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