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The New City

By Nov 21, 2007 Arts & Stage


If you've ever felt momentarily paralyzed by the stampede of Xujiahui's thundering consumer madness, you could probably hazard a guess as to why locally-based artist Chris Gill refers to Shanghai as a "City of Gold" in his show at the Shanghai Art Museum. British by birth and trained as a printmaker, Gill has spent the past 18 years developing his art in China, watching the country transform from a populace donning "Mao suits" to a place where "individual worth is measured by money and through comparisons with the highest tiers of capitalist society."

Gill's exhibit features enormous oil on canvas depictions of the rapidly changing city, marked by the artist's perceived relationship between Shanghai's recent evolution and the female figure. Shanghai's sprouting skyscrapers parallel the society's demand for its female inhabitants to embody what Gill calls "a new shape." Gill believes this ideal is being "forced upon women" and is a "largely local phenomenon that may have some origins in Korean culture."

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