M50 – Shanghai

Today my duty was to visit M50, the famous gallery space settled in a complex of industrial buildings at Moganshan road in the north of the city. The sunshine helped to get me going and though not at best spirits I got a taxi that took me there. I paid double fare than the way back; go figure what is going on…I was there right after 10am, the supposed opening time, but of course many gallery runners and artists came later. Still there was enough open to start the walk. The buildings are occupied by a mixture of ateliers and show spaces sometimes not clearly defined. The main purpose of them all is to sell and my feeling was that it does not matter much what. Most of the works are commercial in a cheap sense, many are average art works not particularly skilled made and very few are really interesting. In fact the only gallery that I found serious is island6 .  This is the base of the artists’ collective Liu Dao; the works are made just behind the show space. As they mention on their website:”Every “art forward” island6 exhibition is the product of multi-disciplined, collaborative in-house workshops”. The current show under title “The cat that eats Diodes” is a combination of paintings, video sculptures, drawings and led moving images. If you visit their website you will get a clearer idea.

A space also worth mentioning is the porcelain gallery called “Contemporary Jun & Ru Porcelain Museum” with colourful porcelain objects made with the technique known as yaobian. By this technique, colour appears naturally under precise control of the change of temperature of the kiln.

For the rest, my impression is that many artists copy works that make success in international exhibitions. They made me think of the endless discussions already started years ago in Greece about the young artists not looking for their own identity but imitating the international trends; well, there you go. It is not that one will make the most brilliant work, just that you must be a master to copy with success so it is better to look for your own thing. Other observation is that obviously many of the exhibiting artists found their way as professional artists through institutions as universities, colleges, etc. and gained titles that make them more or less get that respectable heavy look on their face. Big exhibitions in “serious” galleries are dedicated to them and people look at their work with a serious frown of intelligence. It must be me, but I thought that they sell seaweed for silk ribbons, as we say in Greece. You can find those types in every country; that is the most remarkable. How one becomes a professor and how this extends to sending him/herself and his/her students to international exhibitions is also a big theme which will come up at another article.

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3 thoughts on “M50 – Shanghai

  1. I found this to be an exceptional inspiring piece of writing. Very sharp and to the point. While my observation was about being overwhelmed by the actual volume of art, you have filtered the quality and sorted it. I look forward to your next piece How one becomes a professor.

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