Tao te bling!

By Sun Shuangjie Source:Global Times Published: 2012-5-23 19:10:02

When most of us hear the name, Tao Hongjing, we naturally think of the renowned Taoist and medic who lived during the Liang Dynasty (502-557). However, in tribute to the great man, there is also a French artist, Alexandre Ouairy, who goes by the same Chinese name.

"I was always fascinated by ancient Chinese arts and crafts, and during my studies, (Ouairy is a graduate from the French National School of Art) I have been really interested by contemporary Chinese creativity. I made up my mind to see China for myself someday," the 32-year-old conceptual artist told the Global Times. "I gave myself this Chinese name to show my respect for Chinese culture, and as a way of quickly fitting in with the local community."

Stark contrast

As a witness to the China's rapidly-changing society, and the sometimes stark contrast between traditional culture and the current fierce economic climate, Ouairy has directed his artworks towards exploring what he terms this "hybrid culture" of modern China.

Now, Studio Rouge is hosting Ouairy's solo exhibition called Nirvana Now! in which he is displaying a selection of works created since 2006.

"The exhibits all address the phenomenon of the 'Chinese miracle,' and the angle he takes on this subject is very particular," said Natasha Sorokina, who works for the exhibition studio.

The highlights of the exhibition are several separate works featuring representations of the Buddha, including Buddha heads, and colorful "Amitabhas" (celestial Buddhas). All of the Buddhas and Buddha heads are made from ceramics, and are presented in cuboid dimensions. Influenced by Buddhist figures inside local temples, Ouairy has kept the traditional colors of Amitabha in his works, except that they are applied with real car paint.

"The car is a notable symbol in China. It represents wealth, independence and social status," said Sorokina.

Get rich quick

The neon installation work To Get Rich Is Glorious is a personal favorite of Ouairy's. "To get rich is glorious" was stated by the former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. The colorful brilliance of To Get Rich Is Glorious resembles the type of billboards seen along Nanjing Road East in Shanghai. "This is a common sight in China, and reflects the economic boom of the moment," said Ouairy.

Visitors will also recognize the images used in Places I Have Never Been To which features the landscapes seen on the back of the Chinese banknotes. "These landscapes have become associated with money, so me saying Places I Have Never Been To could be interpreted as me never having been rich!" Ouairy added.

Date: Until June 10, 10 am to 6:30 pm

Venue: Studio Rouge M50 M50红寨画廊

Address: Room 109, Bldg 7, 50 Moganshan Road 莫干山路50号7号楼109室

Admission: Free

Call 5252-7856 for details

Posted in: Metro Shanghai

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