Martin Amis has published an essay on terror here.
“Unlike the poet, the novelist (see W.H. Auden’s glittering sonnet of that name) assumes that his or her reactions to the main events (in life, in history) are utterly median, average — predictably and dependably human.”
Thames Town is jumping on the ‘art district’ bandwagon, teaming up with the more staid Shanghai Art Fair, with some subsidiary events being held in Songjiang. The 2008 (12th) Shanghai Art Fair will be from September 10 to 14, at ShanghaiMart, not to be confused with SHContemporary Art Fair, to be held from 10-13th in September at the exhibition center on Nanjing Road….
Will Thames town become a new artists hub, or is this yet another excuse for puerile corporate tub thumping and real estate promotion? hmm….
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Below are some images of works that will be on sale at SH Contemporary.
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And not very art related, but anyway, it turns out after investigations that the Kang Shifu brand of mineral water, purportedly from the springs of Hangzhou (?!) is actually bottled tap water.
Oops. Now being referred to as ‘watergate.’ Haha.
New message from our sponsors:
“Don’t believe adverts kids, its all lies” More here.
Our nightlife correspondent, Johnny Come Lately (JCL) proffered the following for publication:
Shanghai – nights out or nights in?
We started out at the predominantly suave Japanese restaurant Haiku, bombarded with over large bottles of sake, a raucous night on the Shanghai tiles awaited. Where to start? Well, any night should involve at least several minutes being banged over the head with a little red book, so we headed to YYs, the center of it all. The nights nightspot DJs were hanging out there before heading off into the ether of amber and neon, but we sat and smoked funny cigarettes with mon patron until we too felt the need to head off into the environs off the Bund.
Unfortunately, as we pulled up at Attica, our friend, “Inside Love” was stood outside screaming “its shit”. So we piled into his mates car and drove half way across town to Yayi (or Yiyao?) Lu, the new hippest spot in town, evidently, as not a laowai in site. Tens of porsches parked up outside signified a top spot, though there was no door charge. Anyhow, so in we went to listen to awful music in a purple haze, and it was packed with thousands of young mini skirted minions of mammon. The trip to the bogs would have defeated Livingstone. An on we went, deciding to go to Bar Rouge, the top night spot in town. Unfortunately someone pressed the wrong button and we ended up in Lounge 18. Carrying bags and looking over 25 we were immediately tagged as ‘media.’ After being corralled in a corner by an overlarge guy we were harassed by a French lady for ‘taking photos.’ Well, we did try to profess our innocence, even showing a battery less camera. Well what a life. So we left, avoiding various black skirted ladies who wished to accompany us. Shanghai, Shanghai.
The Uli Sigg collection rumour mill is still going strong.
For weeks rumors have been circulating that Uli Sigg, one of the world’s most important patrons of contemporary Chinese art, would donate his extensive collection to the Shenzhen government, which is currently planning a new museum that they say will be one of the largest in the world.
Sigg, the former Swiss ambassador to Beijing and an international champion of Chinese contemporary art, who has not commented directly on whether he will donate his collection, has confirmed continuing talks with Shenzhen officials.
He told ArtZineChina.com, a major Chinese art website: “I was contacted by representatives of the new Shenzhen museum to be built by the Shenzhen municipality, which will indeed be huge. They were interested in presenting my collection of Western art and a longterm cooperation in that field and advice in general. I indicated to them that I am open to discuss these issues. In the context of this meeting, they realized the depth and extent of my collection of Chinese contemporary art, which they had not been aware of. As a consequence, they expressed strong interest to present parts of my collection in their opening show. This is where we are.”
A new gallery will open soon in the French concession, well in fact more like 4 or 5 galleries. Elisabeth da Brabant, formerly of Art Scene China, is opening a new gallery/art center on Fuxing road, one in her house on Huaihai Road, and is managing a series of exhibition spaces in the new development at Shanghai 1933 in Hongkou.
The inaugural exhibition will be of mostly new work by well known Chinese artist Wang Xiaohui. Wang Xiaohui currently runs a new media center in Tongji University, formerly she lived in Germany for several years, where she is well known as the author of a book about her life.
The show is called “Isolated Paradise.”
Here is the artist and curator’s explanation of the work:
During the 1920’s and 30’s women were an important part of the “High Society” life in Shanghai. It was the Pearl of the Orient, a blooming port town, and internationally renowned. Shanghai women were notorious beauties, les ‘femmes fatales’ of the East, and symbols in China and to the Western world, of the decadence which eventually defined Shanghai in that period.
Xiao Hui Wang uses the perception of these women, cast in 1930’s Shanghai as an invitation to consider and question what lies behind the surface of being and exists within the realm of secret feminine limits–an invitation to push beyond three boundaries: the first, the threshold of the Shanghai private salon; the second, that of the surface and underlying imagined reality; the third, that of the viewer’s own assumptions and perceptions.
Her “Early Temptation” series and latest “Isolated Paradise” are both set in the same period but with a different backdrop. Wang Xiao Hui has chosen to juxtapose the same figures and tension between appearance and inner realities in the setting of the Shang Fang house, the “Isolated Paradise”.
These images of women create a dialogue among the definitions of innocence, purity, and sensuality. Faces are painted pink as flowerbuds but deliberately over-painted. Innocence and distortion. The artist sees these girls as flowers just picked, blossoms which are so young and vital and yet already jaded.
Purity becomes the subject of perception and its testimony. The viewer is a witness to temptation.
The Shang Fang House: Past and Present
Wang Xiao Hui uses the visual contrast of the Shang Fang house – which was first designed in 1937 by English architects and was renovated by the American Architect, Michael Graves & Assoc. in 2003-2004. The striking contrast of what was, and what is, in the Shang Fang gardens is recurrent in the artist’s dialogue. The house is designed with its sensual curves and contemporary art deco details sharply contrasting with the neighboring houses marked with sixty years of stories on their facades. Some of the neighboring houses still provide a home to multiple families who were relocated here during the 1940’s and 50’s.
The setting of the house is relevant because “Shang Fang Hua Yuan” was a glamorous gated community very sought after as a residential neighborhood during the 1930’s and 40’s. Many famous Chinese politicians, lawyers, bankers, and poets lived here in their individual houses each with a private garden. What happened behind the walls, what intrigues, what stories, hid behind these walls? It was Tao Yuanming, a famous writer of the Eastern Jin Dynasty, who referred to this compound as the “Isolated Paradise” in his poetry. Decadence and secret society.
With the house as a theatrical backdrop, bringing these women to existence, the artist creates a contrast and dialogue between old and new–glamorous Shanghai of its ‘High Times’ in the 30’s and the present Shanghai of 2008 now in its frenzied expansion and new-found glamour. There is a heightened tension between what is perceived as real and, like the makeup on the girls’ faces, what colors its surface.
Limits of sexuality, purity, femininity are the recurring subjects left to be explored in the mind’s eye of the observer. Women neither in motion nor in conversation, action nor interaction, pregnant with thought hidden from the viewer. Glamour distorted. We are a witness to intimacy echoing history and conjuring questions about the moral codes in Shanghai today.
September 8, 2008
5:00 – 8:00 pm
September 9-14, 2008
Daily, 10:30 am – 7:30 pm
Daily cocktail hour: 5:00 – 7:30 pm
Eds note: It would appear the models will also be in attendance during these dates…
Eds note 2: Oops, if you want to go you need to contact one of the following:
Contact: Nova Qiu
Mobile: +86 135 64437110
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com