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[Art in November]: A Wheelchair Ride, West Bund Art & Design, and a Major New Museum

Peak season for the artz.
Nov 6, 2019 | 15:40 Wed
Art season has officially peaked: a celebrated prize is being given, two heavyweight museums are opening their doors, and a Basel-like fair is taking place. Throughout the city, there's exciting and, sometimes, spellbinding art. Here's what's on.


HUGO BOSS Asia Art Awards is partnering with RAM to show the works of this year's four finalists. Each floor of the museum is taken by one artist, and the highlights are floors three and four.

On the third floor, Filipino choreographer and dancer Eisa Jocson explores the subject of female migrants from her country that use their bodies as a source of income in the entertainment industry. To incorporate her performances into the exhibition, she created Cornopomy, a powerful four-channel video installation in which vertical flatscreens surround the viewer showing different performances by Jocson herself. From pole dancing to Disney princess — the videos are unsynchronized and culminate in the haunting sound of the moaning laughter of the princess.

The next floor is dedicated to Vietnamese artist Thao-Nguyen Phan. You'll walk through an installation with several watercolors on silk paintings that depict everyday scenes of a typical village in Vietnam. The room is divided by a curtain made of jute stalks, alluding to the countryside. It leads to Mute Grain, a touching three-channel video installation that tells the story of a dead young woman called August, whose ghost still wanders, and of her brother, March, who incessantly looks for her.

The other two floors show the equally extraordinary art of Hao Jingban and Hsu Che-Yu. This is a beautiful show, bringing different perspectives about emerging Asian nations and the struggle of their people.

The winner will be announced on November 6. Entry: 50rmb

Cross Suzhou Creek and head to OCAT's new location (around the corner from the old one) for what's undoubtedly the most unusual exhibition this season. For the solo show of Zhang Ding, a complete race track made of real highway parts occupies the entire space. Visitors can hop on electric wheelchairs and ride the route while looking at different perspectives of his 3D illustration on the walls.

The environment is complemented by video installations here and there, like traffic signs, and by the intense soundscape of a highway.

There are specific hours for the ride: morning, 10.30am to 11:30am and 12.30pm to 1.30pm; afternoon, 2.30pm to 3.30pm and 4.30pm to 5.30pm. Children under 12 are not allowed to ride. Entry: 50rmb

Powerlong Museum collaborated with MadeIn company for the playful group exhibition of fifteen artists at exhibition hall six. The show is built around the concept of a digital metropolis and designed to play with dimensions.

When visitors enter the room, they face a massive composition of many sculptures and paintings, displayed to look like flat icons on a computer desktop; as they go in, the three-dimensional effect kicks in.

Suspended from the ceiling, there are three works by Shanghainese artist Ding Li. He has an uncommon style, painting abstract portraits in thick and layered brushstrokes. The final result is fascinating: the paintings look as if they were made using the Photoshop smudge tool.

Right at the back, you'll see works by Steven Harrington, a group of colorful paintings and two sculptures featuring his iconic motifs and cast of characters. The artist is well known as the leader of the California psychedelic-pop aesthetic.

Even more hallucinogenic are the towering panels with applied giclée prints by Colombian artist Juan Sebastián Peláez. He manipulates images of showbiz celebrities, placing their facial features in their chest, in reference to the grotesque way that European explorers depicted Native Americans in 16th century illustrations.

Many other impressive and amusing works compose the show; visitors can also put headsets on for a 3D ride by Li Hanwai and literally immerse themselves in a ball pit surrounded by disproportional neoclassical sculptures by Xu Zhen. Entry: 98rmb

TANK shows Belgian art with the artworks of fifteen emerging and established artists that represent the contemporary scene in the country.

In the outside patio area, there's an enormous floor drawing of the outline of a tree shade made by Sophie Whettnall. Black Dust tricks the viewer into thinking that it's indeed real shade, except that there are no big trees anywhere around. Another outdoor work that alters the perception of reality is The Oddrre Has No Ipmrotncae, a neon sign by Ann Veronica Janssens that proves the fact that the order of letters has no importance for readability.

Inside tank four, the centerpiece is the installation Cley figure with iron Chair by Mark Manders. He laid an androgynous child-size clay figure on a metal chair and placed both inside a fictional studio. The fragile clay piece contrasts with the roughness of the chair, and it feels like any sudden move could break the delicate balance.

Other highlights include the remarkable paintings by Michaël Borremans, who takes from 18th century techniques to paint his unsettling portraits and still-lifes, and sculptures by Thomas Lerooy, who combines deflated sports balls with metal birds that are either dead or trapped in them.

Entry: 90rmb

Ocean II Ocean

On November 7, another show will open at tank three: "Ocean II Ocean," the highly anticipated solo exhibition of French artist Cyprien Gaillard. He works across media and does large scale interventions in unique spaces. Perfect for the features of the TANK complex. Entry: Included in above ticket price

Not far away, at Qiao Space, Shanghai artist Zhang Yunyao is on show. He draws with graffiti on stretched felt and creates mighty monochromatic painting-like works. He is inspired by neoclassical Renaissance sculptures in marble and bronze, and his contours and shapes are extraordinary.

The works look like old photographs from afar, blurred out, and scratched with time. Standing close, you can notice the texture of the material, revealing the complexity of the work. Entry: Free

The numbers are staggering: in 20,000 square meters, more than 110 galleries from all parts of the world will show over 3,000 artworks by roughly 800 artists. With its top-level presentations, the West Bund Art & Design fair is a mark in China's art calendar. This year, we'll see selected works by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Hockney, Joan Miro, Picasso, Yves Klein, Marina Abramovich, and Anish Kapoor. Entry: 160rmb

Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum

2600 Longteng Dadao, near Longteng Lu View ListingTaxi Printout

On November 8, another museum will open its doors: for the next five years, Centre Pompidou is collaborating with the West Bund Group to establish the most significant artistic exchange between France and China to date.

The exterior of the building, designed by David Chipperfield, is nothing compared to its Parisian branch. Still, its galleries will be receiving extraordinary pieces from the Centre Pompidou's collections — the second in the world for modern art.

As a permanent exhibition, The Shape of Time will take visitors through a journey through the history of modern art, introducing the works of masters like Duchamp, Picasso, and Kandinsky. As the inaugural temporary exhibition, Observations will present fifteen new media artists with works starting from 1972 displayed in a nonlinear way.

The Shanghai branch will also host live performances as well as an extensive program of art education for both kids and adults. Entry: Permanent exhibition: weekdays, 70rmb, weekends, 80rmb. Temporary exhibition: 100rmb.

For the first time since its inauguration in 2012, PSA is having an exhibition formed entirely of pieces from its collection. The show fills the entire second-floor and sheds light on the role that the institution plays in supporting contemporary art.

It starts with a recreation of a museum warehouse (where the artworks arrive after freight), reminding us that art is still a commodity. One of the first pieces you'll see is Standard Family, an installation of 200 photographs taken in the 1990s by Wang Jinsong. They portray different Chinese families revealing an extremely homogeneous composition, a point that was intensified by the artist with the addition of a red backdrop in every shot.

Next, there's another installation, still on the family matter, by the art collective Irrelat!ve. In Shoulder, Family Letter, the group members inscribed letters from their parents in grains of rice or corn using an incredible micro carving technique; visitors can read the letters through lab microscopes.

Later, there's the contemplation in video recordings of iconic performances commissioned by PSA in the past. They include Cai Guoqiang's stunning 10-minute firework performance at the Huangpu River in 2014; and the time when Swiss artist Roman Signer dropped a wooden ball filled with blue paint from the top of the museum's chimney, in 2012.

Reaching the end of the show, you'll find Disguise, a five-channel video installation by Yang Zhenzhong. It dramatizes the process of production by showing factory workers going through their regular work routine but wearing 3D printed masks. With the metallic sound of the machinery and the slow-motion effect, the workers seem to be performing some sort of theatrical dance — it's a somber and profound effect that evokes the dehumanization of workers in manufacturing.

The exhibition is a tribute to the PSA as an institution that incites, preserves, and promotes contemporary art in China through bold subject matter and weighty artists. Entry: Free


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