This weekend, Shanghaiist went to the Bund area and scoped out a couple of galleries. First stop was Contrasts Gallery on Sichuan Zhong Lu. The ultra-modern space is housed on the fifth floor of a run-down heritage building (providing the “contrast” of the gallery’s namesake) and shows work that leans more towards design than fine art. The current exhibition features the sculptures of Luo Xu, whose work Shanghaiist had never seen before this weekend and probably will never see again (consciously, at least). It’s a shame when a great space like Constrasts Gallery has is wasted on mediocre work like Luo Xu’s. Most of his sculptures, which are made to resemble dying leaves, are cold, impassive blobs that give no indication of the emotions that the leaves are supposed to represent. Then there was the piece called “Bathtub”, which is indeed a large bathtub … but one that is formed from a woman’s naughty bits. We would call it clever if it weren’t so tacky … and there wasn’t a woman’s leg daintily arching above to make the showerhead. Cute, but cute vaginas aren’t really our thing.
Our second stop was Studio Rouge, a small gallery right off the Bund on Fuzhou Road. We’ve never really been blown away by their past exhibitions; they specialize in commercial art that are soothing to the eyes. But there’s no doubt that the artists that owner George Mitchell chooses are a talented bunch. The current exhibition, “Night Jazz”, features the paintings of Han Qing. As the title implies, the paintings are supposed to evoke a “jazz riff” (according to the catalogue) but we’re thinking it’s more jazz a la Kenny G, not Miles Davis. These are night scenes washed in pastel colors and effect is something like looking at the world through a rain splattered window. The pieces are certianly beautiful and poetic but they have no great impact beyond that. Which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with art being “just nice”.
Believe it or not, two galleries was all Shanghaiist could take on this lazy weekend. But watch here for more updates on the art world as the city prepares to welcome the 6th Shanghai Biennale at the Shanghai Art Museum in September. There will be a lot more on offer this fall for art lovers.
Contrasts Gallery, 133 Sichuan Zhong Lu, 5/F, Tel: 6321 9606.
Studio Rouge, 17 Fuzhou Nan Lu, Tel: 6323 0833. “Night Jazz” runs until August 31.