Shanghaiist really didn’t understand claustrophobia until we found ourselves in places like People’s Square on a mild winter Saturday or Xujiahui subway station during rush hour. We think that’s why we like effecting a little escape now and again to the Moganshan Lu area, where all the artists, galleries, and warehouses remain empty even on the weekends. We went there on Saturday and found some nice exhibits, among them the Dragonair Emerging Artists show. The contest is only open to artists born during or after 1970, has as its official theme “The Beauty of Art” (Interestingly, the Chinese theme is “美。艺。旅途”. In a later article, it seemed the theme was now “The Beauty of Flying”. Whateva.) The winners were announced December 16, and you can read about that here.
As we first entered the space, we thought it strange to find some migrants or peasants squatting against the columns, only to discover they were statues. We’re not sure who made these, as there was no label next to them, but not only are they life-size, but all of them wear strange expressions that, well, defy words — you could say they are kneeling, yawning, bored, befuddled, or all of the above at the same time and yet something more. In that way, it tends to perfectly capture, in our minds, something about the experiences of these people, if only because much of that experience is inscrutable to us. We also saw some cool “portraits” by Lin Hairong of cartoon-like characters with oversized, distended heads , as well as some beady-eyed alien looking figures by Zeng Pu, the heads of whom crop out of the bottom of the painting and look like they’re slowly melting. Song Peng’s solid colored, psychedelic series “Four dishes and a bowl of soup” look like abstractions of pictures of food you might find on the dinner table transformed into topographical maps.
Zhong Biao’s paintings bring in more elements from the greater cultural canvas of globalized life; in one of his paintings there’s a street sign at an intersection where one sign says “6 Av”, another says “CCTV”, and the third says “Art Museum” — three completely different spaces and places, and yet are perhaps literally or figuratively reflections of choices that a contemporary Chinese artist must face.
Also check out the other galleries, some of which have new stuff as well. We liked Zhou Qin Yun’s lacquer paintings, elegant with their polished and shiny textures and surprising in their depictions of certain positions described in the Kama Sutra
You can read the Shanghai Daily‘s blurb about the Dragonair show, and if you want to visit, read below:
Art Scene Warehouse 10:30 AM to 7:30 PM, 50 Moganshan Lu Bldg. 4, 2F, near Aomen Lu. Tel: 6277-4940. artscenewarehouse.com.