Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art
This piece welcomes visitors to the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, exhibiting works which jauntily captures a modern spirit, and works elements of Chinese society in a readily thought-provoking display. I don't claim to be an art expert, but I enjoy experiencing art as a launch pad to thought and form, possible communication, litmus of freedom, of expression in a society.
I think one of the coolest things about Chinese characters and advertising is the ability to form architecture with the graphic designs.
The exhibit is centered around one of my favorite philosophers, the daoist Zhuang Zi, and his ultimate notion of illusion: 'Do I dream the butterfly or does the butterfly dream me?' The story goes that Zhuangzi dreamt that he was a butterfly, flitting about as he pleased, unaware that he was Zhuangzi. Upon waking, he wasn't sure now if he was ZZ, dreaming about the butterfly, or if he was now ZZ as dreamed by the butterfly. Between ZZ and the butterfly, there must be a distinction: this is what is known as the Transformation of Things.
Zhaungzi's ideas were in full bloom during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420AD) at a time that resembles the present where curator Pan Qing notes that 'religious philosophies (brand lifestyles) vied for followers (consumers) offering refuge from feudal chaos of the time with a range of promises (products, ads) to make life more meaningful.'
A video installation by YE Funa, had a series of 1950's magazine covers, recreated as still life video. A woman in ethnic costume (maybe Xinjiang) sits; it looks uncannily like the cover, until she blink blink blinks. A Korean woman stands in here traditional costume in the countryside, as two farmers work the fields; it is peaceful, not of this century, when a tour de france type cyclist zooms by. Mao is portrayed with 2 ministers; he fusses and fusses and tries to hold his arm just right.
Here is the ending:
An interactive component allows you to make comments, ask questions, to which the computer will fashion a response.
Might the west start thinking more linguistically like the east, where the use of pictures to denote ideas, instead of an alphabet? Nah, English is still the cash language here.
Couldn't find the artist tag for this series of bounded bonsai trees. So incredibly violent, particularly the rusted bolts. It's jarring. I went back twice.
And yes, babies babies everywhere. Everyone love babies. Babies rule. Babies are emperors. And boy are the babies of China happy. They are the receptors of everyone's joy, 6 times over. Even though this sculpture was pretty much in darkness, folks could not stop photographing it.
My friend Rafael is an artist who, of late, has a series of mini-sculptures called 'Pool Party': a tiny baby figurine is cast in blue resin, the size of an egg, frolicking, flipping, splashing, to form a little pool party of its own. When it is combined with, say, 200 other little blue egg pool parties, it becomes a massive cellular spectacle, particularly luminescent on a lit table. I think that piece would do well in China.
Hong Kong-based artist Michael Wolf has made a 3-walled enclave called 'The Real Toy Story'--the density of the toys on the wall definitely invoked the mass feeling in the city, and then the photographs show the grim-faced workers at their toy factory jobs.
This is a familiar site in many Chinese stores and restaurants: lots of worker napping happening. Workers are featured in another video installation by ZHANG Minjie is called 'Say Simple Words to Hold Your Life.' The first time passing it, a woman stands in front of a storefront saying with bored enthusiasm: 'Ni hao huan ying guang ling!' 'Ni hao huan ying guang ling!' ('How are you welcome welcome.') 'Ni hao huan ying guang ling!' The second time passing, it was a man, hollering: 'Mai jin wan bao!' 'Mai jin wan bao!' ('Buy tonight's newspaper.') 'Mai jin wan bao!' 'Mai jin wan bao!' 'Mai jin wan bao!' 'Mai jin wan bao!'
I'm amazed at the lit cigarette control of making calligraphy...might this be a planar palimpsest? WANG Tiande is the artist of this untitled work. I know the words have content and meaning, but looking solely at the form, this renders layers of text atop each other, simultaneously received, and then also the negative space in which text is relayed gives my language head a grand whirl. I'm not a usual fan of text in artwork, but this work makes me gladly contradict myself.
YANG Na, 'Dreaming of Mermaid.'
A view from the ramp leading up to the second floor.
Photo of a real girl--a dynastic weight upon her head...all the past's future lies on the one child.
Dionisio Cimarelli, 'Child No. 7, 3, 2, 6.' (Chinese porcelain).
ZHOU Tiehai, 'Bamboo.'
GAO Lu -- 'Scene #4' ...a large photograph with Goddess of Mercy Guanyin like Lara Croft.
I looked and looked and looked and couldn't understand why these gloves were displayed. Material: wood.
Am I dreaming that the hinges are butterflies?
On the wall by the pink, there is the Art Lab statement:
Can one be awake and awakening at the same time?