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City Spotlight: Shanghai | #ArtInMyCity


City Spotlight: Shanghai | #ArtInMyCity

View of Shanghai City Skyline

Image courtesy of Freeman Zhou

This week, The Artling takes a closer look at Shanghai, a lively and dynamic city often dubbed as the contemporary arts and cultural capital of China. With numerous galleries and institutions dotted around the cosmopolitan hub, Shanghai is also home to an array of local as well as international artists. In recent years, the city has distinguished itself through its diverse and sprawling contemporary art scene which has attracted various collectors and art lovers from around the world.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in late December 2019, China’s government was quick to respond, placing all of mainland China under lockdown by late January 2020. China’s art ecosystem was perhaps the first to feel the immediate effects of COVID-19, with all museums, arts and cultural institutions provisionally closing weeks before others began to around the world.

Having managed to stabilise the virus drastically across the city, Shanghai has been easing out of lockdown since mid-March. By now most of its commercial galleries and art institutions have tentatively reopened. However, this has been carried out with much precaution; through the adoption of extensive and protective measures, with temperature and health QR code checks still required upon entry.

Bryan van der Beek, Shanghai Viaducts // Available on The Artling

Although many art spaces may be open and back in operation, it is not entirely ‘business as usual’ in Shanghai. Exhibitions and events are still up in the air, as the rest of the world continues to battle the virus. Many artists and their artwork, workers and visitors are unable to enter China due to travel bans and restrictions. The populous city may be up and running, but it is important to note the success of its art industry, on a wider scale, has been largely rooted in its international appeal and overseas demand. 

Design Shanghai Fair, which relies heavily on international exhibitors and visitorship was originally scheduled for 12 March – 15 March of this year, but has now for the second time been postponed to 26 November – 29 November, 2020. With such disruptions and uncertainties, it will certainly take some time for Shanghai’s global arts sphere to readjust and return to normalcy. 

Current & Upcoming Exhibitions in Shanghai

Installation View of REBOOT at Arario Gallery, Shanghai

Image courtesy of Arario Gallery 

Almine Rech | Spring

About: Spring will be presented in two distinct sections—one exhibition space will feature abstract works that explode with expressiveness, while a second room will present a group of figurative works that address the subject of self-representation. The intention is to create a dialogue between abstraction and figuration through these two constellations of works in Spring, exploring their relationship across generations of contemporary painting, as well as underlying themes central to both.

Dates: 17 April - 06 June 2020


Arario Gallery | REBOOT

About: An exhibition featuring the works of two artists, Zhu Xiangmin and Ham. Starting from imagination, they depict a utopia illusion and reject their inner exploration. It also seems to remind us that when the community of shared future for mankind is facing unprecedented challenges, the cntinuous exploration of the spiritual world will produce unexpected comfort and transfer power that leads to a "reboot" moment.

Dates: 18 April - 31 May 2020

Installation View of Cache: from B to Z at ShanghART, Shanghai

Image courtesy of ShanghART Gallery. 

Gallery 55 | Emergency Exit - Affectionately Yours 

About: A group show specially curated by independent curator/critic Wang Kaimei. The participating artists include: COCA, Fu Xiaodong, Jin Feng, Ju Anqi, Li Xiangwei, Wang Banyu, Wu Xiaochuan, Xu Zhe, Xuan Chenhao, Yu Aijun, Zhang Yehong and Zhao Bang. The exhibition explores normality and exception. 

Dates: 18 April - 10 May 2020 


ShanghART | Cache: from B to Z

About: This exhibition brings together works from 38 artists under the theme of "cache", discussing what strategies and mindset that people could take to deal with the state of exception in life. This show is also an exploration of the "best solution" by ShanghART Gallery under the current circumstance. It carefully stores the 60 selected works of 38 artists in the "cache" of gallery space, and transforms the exhibition hall into a temporary art "database".

Dates: 12 April - 12 June 2020


Cc Foundation and Art Centre | The mirror will soon disappear in the world

About: An exhibition presenting the works of artist Chen Zhou, who presents multiple vocabularies, such as color field painting, moving images, installation, and live performance, to explore the dialectic entanglement of self-identity and self-reflection. The show begins with a video installation, and concludes with a site-specific installation and performance.

Dates: 18 April - 12 July 2020

Close-up View of House of Strawberries by Juju Wang 

The Artling | House of Strawberries

About: The strawberries in this site-specific installation work by Shanghainese artist Juju Wang, serve as a representation of a central motif for the way that we irrevocably have influenced our surrounding environment and impacted our planet. This is also an exploration into the effects of this on the core of our development, containing symbols of both motherhood and childhood in terms of the ‘self’, as well as the topics of cultural identification, belonging and the effects of globalization. These complex concepts are juxtaposed with the visual simplicity of the black and white minimalist palette and space.

Dates: 30 April - 30 June 2020


Antenna Space | Guan Xiao: 8 stories

About: A solo exhibition featuring works by artist Guan Xiao. The art practice of Guan Xiao mainly focuses on sculpture, video and installations. She uses her own identity, history and geographical background as material, to collage with the increasingly converging world conditions in the current high-speed decomposition, attempts to emphasize the importance of differences by creating or directly or tactfully contradiction; And to express her understanding of the importance of differences through various themes.

Dates: 16 May - 12 July 2020

‘Standing Together’ Through Art

Standing Together Through Thick and Thin, Charity Auction Poster

To help and support those who have been affected by the coronavirus, a charitable art auction, Standing Together Through Thick and Thin was set up through a collective effort by various arts institutions. The charity auction which was held early in March was initiated by HOW Art Museum, Shanghai, and co-sponsored by Yitiao, Modern Media, as well as ART021. Together, they collaborated with multiple institutions around the world including: Hauser & Wirth, Edouard Malingue, and Perrotin to raise funds for the Shanghai Soon Ching Ling Foundation. Over 280 artworks were presented for auction, and featured renowned artists such as Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Yue Minjun, and much more.

It is stated that the money raised will be used to donate children’s masks, digital thermometers and other medical and protective equipment to over 100 schools in China that have been affected by the virus.

Take a look at a selection of locally-based artists and artwork in China that you can support.

Ye Fan


Ye Fan, Borrowing For Birth

Ye Fan studied product design in Hangzhou China Academy of fine arts. He is interested in the application and exploration of environmental foam materials. “I don’t think there is anything certain. Things are the process of event development”. For Ye Fan, materiality plays an important and fundamental part of his artistic explorations, believing that it is an evolutionary process that can constantly be studied and expanded upon.


Ye Hongxing, The Birds No. 2

Ye Hongxing is a Beijing-based artist, born in 1972 in Guangxi Province, China and is represented by Art + Shanghai Gallery. One of the most relevant and successful stars of the contemporary Chinese art scene, Ye Hongxing was previously selected as one of the top 20 contemporary Chinese artists by the curator of California’s Asia Art Museum and the director of Art Cologne. Working in oil paint, mixed media, sculpture, and installation, her works relish a sense of vivid, exquisite chaos, expressing a richness and luxury that combines bright hues with pop culture symbols and traditional motifs. 

Most recently, Ye Hongxing had her fifth solo exhibition with Art + Shanghai Gallery entitled Being Time, The Time Being: Ye Hongxing’s Latest Series. In her latest series, Ye presented works that verge on the abstract, utilising prismatic colours and surrealistic combinations informed by pop aesthetics.



Zhang Zhoujie, MC004-F-Matt

Zhang Zhoujie is a digital artist, designer and a pioneer in the realm of digital creativity, who established Zhoujie Zhang Digital Lab in 2010. He graduated from Central Saint Martins art and design college in London and is a member of the Architectural Association School of Architecture. His work is known for being independent, experimental and futuristic. Zhang believes that objects in the digital world can grow and morph much like things found in nature and he is dedicated to discovering and exploring the methods within these transformations. His work focuses mainly on the simplicity of logic, variety and unpredictability, based on his understanding of nature. His collections have been exhibited widely around the world and selected both by museums and individual collectors.


island6 六岛 (Liu Dao), Chinese Trills

island6 六岛 (Liu Dao) is a Shanghai-based collective of tech-geeks and creative talents whose driving force is collaboration. Since its inception in 2006, this dynamic international group has produced multimedia art that muses on the relationship between the delicate qualities of traditional art and the technical complexities of the contemporary. Artists from diverse disciplines converge to contemplate the past, present, and future of China through their humorous and innovative new media work. Liu Dao's ever expanding repertoire includes works in diverse mediums such as LED art, video art, interactive art, neon, photography, painting, sculpture, and dynamic laser art, among others.


Su Xiangpan, look there

Su Xiangpan is represented by Gallery 55 in Shanghai. The China-born artist obtained his B.A. And M.A. Degrees in Mural Paintings from China Academy of Art in Hangzhou in 2010 and 2014 respectively. He got a Summer residency at Laforet in Italy in 2015. Su Xiangpan’s recent major exhibitions include: “Stop making sense” (chi K11 Art Museum, Shanghai, 2015) and "A Fuzzy Decision" (Solo, 55, Shanghai, 2015). He spends a lot of time thinking about the making of a painting and its relation with creativity. The final art works of abstract paintings and 3-dimensional sculptures have become the outcome of his thoughts. 

Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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