Shanghai Biennale Part II
Writing from 242 Prince Street Cafe Gitane, follow up with the Shanghai Biennale I, these are some of my highlights form the current show at Shanghai Art Museum. The museum itself is one of my favourite buildings in Shanghai, built in 1930s, throughout the seasons Evergreen gently wrapped around it. The rooftop restaurant Kathleen serves a good old glass of Martini, with a view of the infamous Shanghai bund.
The current exhibition theme is “city”, which I think is boring and predictable, it sounded like coming from a group of old Chinese art academics and some curators from the west who hang out in Bar Rough (A touristy bar by the bund full of Russian, Thai, Chinese prostitutes that caters the first layer of scum from France and sad tourists that has corporate hook-ups etc) sat down in a room for hours drinking some bubbly and Mao Tai (An expensive Chinese Rice Wine contains 47% alcohol), then one guy let out some gas and said “Let’s make the theme – City!” “Bravo!!” All stood up and cheers.
This is a painting called “Gan Bei 41” (Cheers 41) by Chinese Artist Su Xin Ping, a group of construction worker from Dong Bei (North-east), in the colour of earth, simple joyfulness pouring out from their crooked teeth. In a city like Shanghai, we see them living by the construction site, lunchtime they will have a siesta by the sidewalk. We call them “Min Gong” (People’s Worker), I once over heard a mother having a go at a little kid around the age of 7, “You don’t like school you will grow up become a Min Gong and I will disown you!” Looking at this painting, that mother’s words sounds less like a threat.
These are some shots from Savage Growth by Bu Hua, who is now a representative figure in Chinese contemporary animation art. I generally dislike most of video arts for many reasons, I’ll share that next time, but Sam and I actually sat down and watch this particular animation twice.
It is in a wood block printing illustration style, she expressed city migration and globalization in an innocent and savage way.
Last but not least, Yue Min Jun once again surprised us. Presenting his new signature laughing head in a group of humongous and miniature 3D dinosaurs sculptures. It is the most playful room in the whole museum; I like the fact that visitors are very interactive with the artwork and everyone’s smiling. I think it’s important to create fun in the museum, the generation that is born after 90’s in China is the first generation who has the luxury of experiencing art in Museums. Art doesn’t always have to be difficult to understand to evoke thinking; happy simple straightforward subject with the right execution is brilliant art too. I like the fact that Yue’s pieces also has not much to do with the theme of the exhibition, he could be the Philippe Stark or Banksy of Fine Art, for once someone challenge the scene by being simply himself, I can’t wait to see how much he can get away with next time.
Once again the quality of my photos are not that good, due to my poor camera skills.
May 7, 2013
August 18, 2012