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Living For The City: K11's New Art Fair

Fifteen Shanghai galleries roll into the mall this week for the Art In The City fair. From phallic rugs to giant robots, there's much to see...
Sep 11, 2014 | 14:37 Thu

It's festival season in tha' Hai. And that's not limited to the nine million music festivals and ten thousand beer festivals. Right after the much-buzzed Photo Shanghai last weekend, art-gallery-in-a-mall-basement K11 threw down last night with their first ever Art In The City, which runs all weekend. After this we've got the Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair on Friday and the West Bund Art & Design Fair later this month.

Allegedly the Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair just got their permit like three days ago. Heard that's a bit messy. Hmmm...

Anyway, unlike those other festivals that promise to bring the BIGGEST names in from abroad, Art In The City focuses solely on galleries in Shanghai. Contemporary works curated by people in our city. Nice approach. There's a lot happening with art in Shanghai, and this fair lets you see what fifteen of our city's galleries do, all in one convenient central location.

For me, the standout galleries were Aike-Dellarco, Vanguard Gallery, Arario Gallery, Shanghai Gallery Of Art, and the BANK Gallery. But instead of making this some long-winded critique, we decided to just ask the owners or directors of each gallery to stand next to their favorite work.

Josef Ng, Shanghai Gallery Of Art

Really feeling the sculptures here. And hey, this guy used to be a drum and bass DJ in London back in the day.

Henna Joo, Arario Gallery

The cover photo comes from this one, a new Korean gallery on Tianping Lu that also has spots in Seoul and Cheonan.

Miao, Aike-Dellarco

Overall Aike brought the best works of the exhibit, including some really twisted sculptures. A wide variety, all of it good. Look out for their opening this Saturday, September 13 at 5pm.

Lise Li, Vanguard Gallery

Several works by Tian Zhuo and his girlfriend Lu Yang in here, including one that says "I LOVE DUBSTEP."

Mathieu Borysevicz, BANK Gallery

You can't miss the phallic rug by Tian Zhuo, plus some works from The BANK's current XXX exhibition and their very own store. Hey, it's a mall – gotta have a store.

Lin Hong, M Art Center

Korean Robot, Hakgojae

The director of this Korean gallery was not present but this robot was. One of my favorite pieces here.

Xixing Cheng, Don Gallery

Some nice works here by a young Shanghainese artist who spent three years studying how to paint on felt, which is apparently really difficult.

Ferdie H. Ju, Gallery 55

Michelle Ni, FQ Projects

Tragically, about an hour before this photo, the biggest sculpture FQ Projects brought to Art In The City crashed down to the ground, shattering into pieces and wounding Michelle's hand. Like a true soldier, she went to the hospital, got stitches, and came right back.

*Note that not all of the gallery owners/directors appear in these pictures because we couldn't find them.

So, overall a solid event. I didn't love everything on display there, but there's enough to enjoy and all the gallery people I spoke with seemed really happy about Art In The City. Several chose to come here rather than the SH Contemporary Art Fair, though some are doing both. Crucially, this event focuses on what's happening IN Shanghai, not just hyped-up names from abroad coming into Shanghai.


Art In The City runs through this Sunday, Sept 14 at K11 from 10am–7pm. Ticket price is 50rmb. More info here.

All photos by Cecilia Chan.