Saturday, May 2, 2009

AROUND SPACE: Better than Disney World

Some galleries still adhere to the white cube convention of exhibiting art. Around Space gallery embraces the beat-up walls, chipped tiles, and dilapidated ceilings of the two spaces that house their art within the 696 Weihai Lu enclave. At #108, Building 11, they've hammered together shapes made of unfinished drywall to use as display units, while the walls are literally falling down at #202, Building 9. This gallery doesn't take themselves too seriously and is a place run by art lovers, for art lovers.

I heart Around Space.

Tilt-a-Whirl at #108, Building 11
Photo courtesy of bound*ed

Geometric display units at #108, Building 11
Photo courtesy of bound*ed

Work shown on crumbled external walls at #202, Building 9
Photo courtesy of bound*ed

New Residency Program : Art Plant in Tokyo

Art Plant: Guidelines for Applicants
(artists from overseas)

Sayama ‘green island’ (a nature protected park located in SAYAMA Hills, HIGASHIYAMATO city, Tokyo)
TORIYAMA restaurant (Japanese Restaurant )

24th Sept. – 13th Oct. 2009


Art exhibition in the woods or in some buildings around Higashiyamato city.
Making artworks in the style of Workshop with resident around there, especially with children.

Through the mixture of art and natural objects, we describe the importance of harmony in our daily lives.

Given the chance to create some art with a professional, foreign artist among children, parents, and young Japanese artists, we hope to bring to our neighborhood a new way to communicate with each other and bring new understandings into the lives of all the people involved in the project.

a) Be involved with contemporary art, or other art making.
b) Be able to produce one artwork during working period.

a) be able to lead community life with the other invited artists.
b) be able communicate with the people living in this area.
c) be able to speak and understand either English or Japanese daily conversation.
d) be able to correspond to the schedule: the execution, the exchange events and so on.
e) be in good health.

5 artists

Travel expenses: Artist will pay the Airfare and transportation between Narita and Tamagawajosui St.(Seibu Shinjuku line)
We arrange the transportation between Tamagawajosui St. and the place where you stay.
Living allowance: The organizer will provide the accommodation, and local transportation during the stay. The meal will be provided for 10days (the days stated for work)
If Artist require something especially, he/she will pay it.
Material expenses: Artist will pay. (We will provide some bamboos, which grow in Sayama ‘green island’, if it is needed.)
Insurance: The artist should be covered by one’s own travel insurance (for injury and sickness) for the duration of residence. The organizer will have nothing to do with insurance for the Artist
About Working, Exhibition, and the Exchange program
a) Fire in the park is not permitted. If the process of your work involves fire, please consult with one of the organizers.
b) Artist must not give severe damage to the plants of Sayama ‘green island’.
c) Artist must not cover the walkways by your artwork.
d)Artists will have some co-working staffs to help you when you are making work.
(The residents will join and experience your work, so please explain clearly how they can help in your planning.)
e) Artist must not make the artwork which is against public order, standards of decency, and injures the audience.
f) Artist must not make the artwork remarkably political and religious.

1. Please send a mail to Office 339 at
2. We will send you an application form and a planning form.

Closing Date: 2009/06/30


An Unacknowledged Artist (2008), oil on canvas
130 x 110 cm

On Exhibit Now

The Shanghai Gallery of Art is pleased to present Alter Ego, a solo exhibition by Ouyang Chun with a selection of nineteen oil paintings from 2007 to 2009. Alter Ego exhibits a series of oil paintings that speak of the daily frustrations, pain and delight of our existence. Delving into the psychological nuances of a creative individual becomes the subject matter for his self-portraits and depictions of imaginary episodes that are emblematic of the complexity and richness of a generation of young painters currently based in Beijing. For Ouyang Chun, “What I am trying to capture in my paintings are fragments of my life. The meaning does not lie within the artwork but its ability to say something from the heart. What is important is not the painting but an ability to feel one’s life.”

Ouyang Chun was born in 1974 in Beijing. He graduated from the Department of Art Education of Xi’an Academy of Fine Art, Xi’an, in 1995. Considered as one of the most prominent artists of the young generation (the 1970s), Ouyang Chun currently lives and works in Beijing.

For more information, please contact the Shanghai Gallery of Art:

Address: 3rd Floor, No.3 on the Bund
By email:
By telephone: 86-21-63215757, 86-21-63233355 *, 86-21-63234549

Installation view
Photo courtesy of Shanghai Gallery of Art

Installation view
Photo courtesy of Shanghai Gallery of Art

Text from Shanghai Gallery of Art.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Grand Opening : Bamboo ArtSPACE

Grand Opening May 9th from 6 to 9 pm

1918 ArtSPACE is opening Bamboo ArtSPACE, their second gallery located at Moganshan Road No. 20, Building 8. The 400 sqm space is on the lane just east of the M50 art district.

This new art space, dedicated to all types of contemporary art and culture-related events, exhibitions and performances, and located right next to the M50 Art District, will open its doors on May 9th, 2009 hosting the first solo show in Shanghai of New-pop Korean artist Kwon, Ki-Soo.

Untitled 1 (2008), acrylic on canvas
130 x 130 cm

For more info and for high-resolution pictures, please contact Bamboo ArtSPACE:

By e-mail:
By phone: + 86 13818789932 or + 86 21 62769100

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Installation Views | May Rain

Photos courtesy of the artist

Editorial : Extracting the Earth’s Essence

Drifter No. 4 (2008), oil on canvas
150 x 110 cm

Today’s China is like an open valley to the influences of Western art where different voices from different sides contradict each other, which easily excites enthusiastic people but makes quiet individuals like this artist feel awkward. In a time filled with constant updates and developments, any introspective choice inevitably seems conservative. What motivates Du Saijin, apart from personal feelings, is strengthening a connection with the earth.

Since meeting him in 1998, I have known Du Saijin to paint portraits of the poor, a population often socially disengaged from general society. His subjects use meager incomes to buy liquor and meat in the dimming light of sunset, much like Semyon Zakharovich Marmeladov in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. Though challenging to examine on a sociological and economic level, this population reveals to the artist the simple greatness and solidarity of the human spirit through the absurdity of predestination displayed by their real lives. This is what attracts the painter, inspiring humility toward his craft and a commitment to remain honest to the canvas. Du Saijin paints vagrants, scavengers and laborers as individuals instead of using them to represent emotional concepts or as boxes to hold ideas. His paintings show that without baring clothes, the artist can extract the essence of people standing firmly on the earth.

Sophie Pan holds a doctorate in Art History from Nanjing Normal University and is now a professor at Nanjing Art College.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

On the Road : Pingyao International Photography Festival 2008

The Pingyao International Photography Festival is an annual event held in Pingyao, a small city in Shaanxi province. It's a great experience viewing photography in industrial exhibition spaces like a former cotton mill and needle factory. Some art in context from the 2008 festival...

Photos courtesy of bound*ed

Friday, April 3, 2009

Character Sketch : Huzi

Huzi : untitled (2008), ink drawing
25 x 11 cm

I first met Huzi at his hybrid store/workshop/drinking hole across from Mesa/Manifesto on Julu Road. He was slumped on one of those wooden stools that barely exceed ground-level; so low that they're more qualified as squat supports than a proper seat. He wore a boxy Chinese jacket made with coarse material and matching trousers. The consummate Northerner, he was a friendly bargainer, a long-winded conversationalist, and an avid drinker -- he kept a stash of cheap liquor in the corner. His face wore a crooked smile and thick black glasses that showed off the quirky squint of his eyes.

Huzi : untitled detail (2008), ink drawing

When he offered me a business card I accepted, then waited while he produced it...literally. After making an ink illustration on a piece of scrap leather, he used clear nail polish to seal it. On it was his name in an outdated form of pinyin and the shop's phone number. No mention of an address or what I might call him about, though admittedly it's hard to forget someone with a leather calling card.

Huzi : leather calling card (2008)
7 x 4 cm

The last time I saw Huzi, he was huddled against the wall at a recent gallery reception, seemingly laughing at the jokes in his head.

All prices listed on this site are for reference only. All prices need to be confirmed with artists or their representatives.

Riding the Elevator of Tradition : Swoon and Bovey Lee

Due to the decorative and delicate nature of the medium, paper cutting is commonly viewed as a feminine skill and traditionally taught to marriageable Chinese girls. Artists Bovey Lee and Swoon are two females whose works elevate a traditional art form to a dynamic, multi-dimensional medium capable of delivering powerful political and socio-economic messages.

Bovey Lee approaches the craft of paper-cutting from a painting and digital imaging background, thus her process includes developing digital templates before cutting the patterns by hand. In most mediums, negative and positive space can play upon a flirtatious tension with each other. But in paper cutting, the added pressure of forming each work with a single sheet results in a relationship that is both visually and practically co-dependent. In Bovey Lee's work, she uses a "wallpaper" of pattern (e.g. a storm of clouds, a chain link fence) that serves as a contextual backdrop upon which she directs scenes filled with un-precious characters such insects, pigeons, jellyfish, and lightning bolts. Yet, the work still manages to exude an elegant and composed demeanor.

Atomic Jellyfish
More information at

Atomic Jellyfish detail
More information at

Little Crimes
More information at

Little Crimes detail
More information at

Like a street urchin, Swoon scavenges and collects mediums, treating paper cutting like the pushcart that contains all her finds. She began pasting life-sized paper cutouts in 1999, using the same canvases as the city's graffiti artists to leave work simple in form but detailed in the narratives printed on the paper bodies. These works would be left to decay on the street, incorporating yet another vehicle -- time-based art -- to express her concept of the city and the people who inhabit it. Her art has become increasingly three-dimensional and more heavily based in paper cutting until finally evolving into stunning and complete installations. Instead of treating paper like a medium that needs to be handled with care, she chooses to beat it to a pulp.

Friends and Family, Main Street in DUMBO Brooklyn. June 15, 2003.
Photo courtesy of GammaBlog

Installation view, Newton Building Miami Design District, 2005.
Photo courtesy of Jasmine Levett

Installation view, Newton Building Miami Design District, 2005.
Photo courtesy of Jasmine Levett

Installation view, The Luggage Store in San Francisco, 2008.
Photo courtesy of Super Touch Art

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More art in residence...French Concession

I love viewing art in repurposed spaces so expect more "Art in Context" posts in the following weeks.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Gallery Trend : Art in Context

The French Concession is home to an increasing number of contemporary art galleries. Renovated residences provide an art deco setting for viewing art -- a uniquely Shanghai experience. The James Cohan Gallery is an excellent example of this. Below are images from their last exhibit, FOLKERT DE JONG : Thousand Years Business As Usual.


Misguidance (2008), photography
60 x 60 cm (ed. 12) : 10,000 rmb
90 x 90 cm (ed. 10) : 14,000 rmb

curated by Leslie Kuo

May Rain's well-crafted images highlight the theatre of love -- its torment, sweetness, pleading, and capriciousness. The exhibit is on view from March 20th through April 17th at Fellini Gallery.

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