Thursday, March 11, 2010

Make Over Exhibit, OV Gallery

The Make Over exhibit in the OV Gallery is very unique in that it responds to all of the changes taking place in the city of Shanghai for the World Expo. Before entering the gallery, I was confronted with a military base-like façade by Gao Mingyan and a surreal, blue display window of fish swimming in bags and a gigantic wine glass by Ning Zuohong. To get to the door and enter the gallery, I had to step over a pile of sandbags. Once inside, I felt like I was in a calmer world than what the outer appearance had me expecting. The only noise I could hear was the sound of the bubble machine making bubbles in “Bubble City Bubble Life” by Chen Hangfeng. The work “Paved Landscapes” by Jutta Friedrichs evoked happy thoughts from me because of the bright colored objects and the flowers, but I found out later that the work actually symbolized the destruction of self-sustaining vendors in exchange for a prettier image that requires constant maintenance. The work that seemed to pull the mood of the exhibit together was the “Tang Dynasty Poem” by Bird Head. Black and white photographs of single characters were taken from store signs to write the Tang Dynasty poem “On Mounting Youzhou Terrace” by Chen Zi-ang. All of the works in the Make Over exhibit deal with the controversies surrounding Shanghai’s rapid make over. Many of the changes that have taken place to fix the city’s image have happened away from public eyes, but the Make Over exhibit reveals a bit of what’s really happening to not only the city, but also to the people.

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