What a weekend—the Shanghaiist Halloween Party was a blast! We loved the diverse crowd and friendly vibe. (Local residents, who contacted the police about the noise, were rather less enthused.) We’ll start planning for the next event soon — when we nail down the details, we’ll be sure to let you know. Any suggestions on places to go?
While Saturday ranks as the most exciting day of the weekend, it didn’t rank as the most surreal, even with all the costumes. Friday was definitely one of the strangest nights we’ve had in Shanghai — and among the most exciting! We met a guy who went to college 20 minutes from our hometown, and now lives 10 minutes from our apartment — Shanghai small world strikes again! We went to a great Halloween party where a Pharaoh and a Queen tried to rip our clothes off on the dance floor. And, of course, there was the six-foot Singing Swedish Praying Mantis. Pardon me?
We speak of the opening reception of Mantis City by Tobias Bernstrup the MoMA (aka Duolun Museum of Modern Art). If you haven’t made it up this gem of a museum, you need take a look. MoMA shows modern art and is known for its avant guarde exhibits, which change regularly and feature both local and foreign artists. It’s heavy on conceptual art, video installation, and other alternative forms of expression that push boundaries — a healthy exercise, we say, considering that much of the Chinese art scene (especially in Shanghai) is still in its infancy.
Bernstrup’s work is fun, yet thought provoking. In a time when video games become ever more life-like, and reality becoming ever more fantasy like (um, hello Pearl Tower!) Bernstrup explores combining fantasy and reality into one space. It’s pretty cool—witness huge praying Mantises fighting it out over the Pearl Tower (think Godzilla in Shanghai), and explore entire video-game environments on computer (think Counter-Strike for your gamers out there). It got us thinking how blurry reality can be, and how realistic fantasy can seem. Such contemplation tends to be a downer, so we began blurring our own reality by reaching for the nearest cocktail.
The highlight of the evening was a performance where the artist himself dressed up as, of course, a giant praying mantis. With big googly eyes! And, of course, what else would a giant mantis do but begin singing on stage, accompanied a posse of Cosplayers, all gussied up for the event. Is this Shanghaiist the only one who hadn’t heard of cosplay before? Well, we do now. The whole thing made for a surreal sight indeed. Alas, performance was a one night only deal, but Bernstrup’s exhibit is on until November 25. It’s worth a look. Check it out!
Mantis City by Tobias Bernstrup. The Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art is located at 27 Duolun Lu, at Sichuan Bei Lu. Tel: 6587 2530. 上海多伦现代美术馆：多伦路27号在四川北路。