Revel in art

By Sun Shuangjie Source:Global Times Published: 2013-7-1 17:58:01

The Virtual Scene by artist Liu Jianhua Photos: Courtesy of MoCA

The Virtual Scene by artist Liu Jianhua Photos: Courtesy of MoCA

It is not a new observation to note that the present artistic atmosphere in China has lagged behind the US and Europe, or that the art scene in Shanghai has a long way to go to compare with Beijing's.

However, over the years, both artists and curators in Shanghai have never tired in their efforts to bring more and better artworks from here and around the world to art aficionados in the city.

Back in 2005, the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai (MoCA Shanghai) was one of the few private-owned art venues in the city, making it a pioneering force dedicated to contemporary art.

Eight years later, the venue has become one of the most influential players in the local art scene, having successfully held a number of critically acclaimed exhibitions of notable artists from China and abroad.

Recently, to celebrate MoCA Shanghai's eighth anniversary, the venue is playing host to a group exhibition of 26 artists and artist groups, most of whom are based in Shanghai.

Divinities - Marx by Xu Zhen

Divinities - Marx by Xu Zhen

A celebration of art

"Entitled Revel, the exhibition is not a retrospective one to record the art scene in the city in the past eight years, but a celebration of art and the artists, with works they revel in," said Mathieu Borysevicz in fluent Chinese. Borysevicz, originally from New York but now based in Shanghai, is the curator of the exhibition.

"Through this exhibition, we also look forward to a new journey for MoCA Shanghai and the art scene in Shanghai," said the curator.

The exhibition, occupying the two-storied exhibition space of the venue, features the work of Shanghai-based artists born from the 1960s to the 1990s; among them are world-renowned artists Ding Yi, Zhou Tiehai and Zhang Enli, as well as such emerging talents as Chen Wei, Zhang Ding and Zhang Ruyi.

The exhibits cover oil paintings, photographs, installations, giant sculptures and videos.

"I asked the artists for what they considered was a revel for themselves," said Borysevicz, who admitted that the artist circle in Shanghai is relatively small given the city's huge population. "It's more reserved, less barbarian and less free than Beijing and other places."

Untitled from Zhang Enli

Untitled from Zhang Enli

Featured works

Artist Liu Jianhua has presented one of his "revel" artworks to the exhibition, The Virtual Scene. Completed in 2005, The Virtual Scene is a set of works including a model of the city constructed out of casino gambling chips and a photograph of the model erected before the well-known skyline of Lujiazui.

"When I first came to Shanghai I felt so tired, as every day the life seemed to push you to move forward as if you'd been put into a mixer of concrete," said the Jiangxi-born artist who has lived in the city since 2004. "The city is also a market of capital, which gives people a sense of illusive prosperity and hope."

The artist collective umafang take their inspiration from the integration of the human body with nature. A special dark space in the first floor showcases their "revel," in which visitors can see two photographs of a nude woman and a video of the woman dancing in a stream amid a forest.

Xu Zhen, born in 1977, created two giant black sculptures for the exhibition, Divinities - Community and Divinities - Marx. The works, which resemble statues from Easter Island, refer to social icons as a testimony to the schizophrenic pluralism of our society.

To better present the local art scene, Borysevicz divided the exhibition into several separate spaces. For instance, Ding Yi's sketches of his abstract oil paintings are arranged in the same space with the abstract installations by Zhang Ruyi and ZAKA, to showcase abstract art in the city. The distinctive video works by Yang Zhenzhong and Wang Meng are arranged in a space on the second floor, in which visitors will find an interesting interaction between them.

The joy of curating

"For me personally, the revel as a curator and art critic occurs when I step into the artist's studio and find something amazing," Borysevicz told the Global Times. "And I'm also happy when I witness the art circle in the city is expanding day by day with the emergence of new galleries and artists."

The curator of MoCA Shanghai, Samuel Kung, agrees with Borysevicz on this point.

"The greatest delight comes to me when each new exhibition is set up and waiting for its audience," said Kung.

Date: Until August 11, 10 am to 6 pm

Venue: MoCA Shanghai


Address: 231 Nanjing Road West


Admission: 30 yuan

Call 6327-9900 for details

Posted in: Metro Shanghai

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