As you know I am posting from here in Shanghai and if you haven’t guessed I am Canadian. It is funny how the Canadian connection pops up randomly. At times and we seem to attract each other like magnets. Maybe it has something to do with being part of the Great White North and magnetic north connections 😉 It is like that 6 degrees of separation ‘game’ people play to find connectives between a common person. Remember how they used to joke about it with Kevin Bacon a few years back? Anyway I am getting off topic…
Here in Shanghai I am a teacher… a very busy teacher who has little free time on weeknights and weekends. I would love to get out and explore this wonderous city more. Shanghai has world-class cultural events, fantastic buildings, night life and little hidden gems. With a pretty hectic life I miss out on these things and rarely do I know about such events or even seek them out, which in turn would only depress me to miss out.
Wanderlust happened to mention an art showing at a local gallery and said she would love to go, but she is in India, so suggested I should go. She found out about it from Canadian Art Junkie. Now do you see my point? We played the connective game blog style! How funny is that? I am here and I don’t know about such events, but others around the world do! I decided to add it to my TO DO list and take a break from the pile of work and reports and get out to explore. Last weekend 2 fellow teachers and I did just that.
The trip there was an adventure in itself, which I will save for a post on another day. The gallery we went to was called Magda Danysz which has a parent gallery in Paris, France. It used to be along the Bund, but has moved to a quieter, more local neighbourhood in Shanghai not far from the Yang Pu Bridge. The gallery is very open, airy and modern. It looks like a lot of work has gone in to restore some old buildings into a new upbeat gallery. Off the beaten path of tourists it may be hard to find, or out-of-the-way, but was worth the trip.
We were introduced to some new artists that I may not have otherwise heard of like Jon One, Alexandre Farto, Alain Delorme, and Yang Yongliang. The employees were very helpful and took a lot of time to answer questions, show us around and explain some of the art. We spent an hour or so inside and out exploring the various pieces. This current exhibition is on until the end of June.
I was fascinated by the chiseled brick portrait on the exterior wall. An old plaster wall was chiseled and made into 2 larger than life-size portraits. The skill and beauty were amazing. The main reason I wanted to see this gallery was to see Alain Delorme’s Totem’s which are typical views of Chinese on bikes piled high with recyclables, chairs, bags, whatever… it is one of those things that for me is China and makes me giggle every time I see one pass. I am in awe and wonder how they manoeuver these massive structures, secure them and now to some are a work of art. It was fun to see some other images and larger piles than I have seen in person. Before leaving China I must seek out more of these guys!
My biggest surprise was on a Chinese artist who uses traditional paintings of the men in cloaks with their long beards and mustaches in a typical mountain scene. Look closer and the mountains are not what they appear to be. The mountains were in fact photos of highrise buildings in the shape of the mountains. Oh how that spoke to me about what is happening to the economy, land and growth in China. It was a hidden message and something you could so easily miss with just a quick glance. I was very proud of myself for catching it and ‘getting’ it since so much modern art goes over my head.
If you are in Shanghai you may want to stop by and get off the tourist path and see a ‘real’ Chinese neighbourhood and a fabulous art gallery as well. It is free to browse and the staff are so helpful. I will go back again.
Stay tuned… I have the photo challenges still to do this weekend 🙂