Artlusting in Shanghai

by Cynthia Sin-Yi Cheng
March 9, 2009

Shangart 796Cynthia Sin-Yi Cheng

ShanghART 796
796 Huaihai Middle Rd
Shanghai, CHINA
Daily: 10 am – 7 pm

While Beijing is the art epicenter in China, when I’m in Shanghai, I still make sure to check out ShangART Gallery, always at the forefront of contemporary Chinese art. During Chinese New Year, I visited their newest space, ShanghART 796, opened last October.

Unexpectedly, the newest addition to ShanghART is in the middle of one of the city’s busiest shopping streets, Huaihai Road. It’s like stumbling upon an oasis to be shuffled along with the crowd of shoppers and suddenly find yourself inside the complex’s enormous courtyard, which leads to a cluster of heritage houses occupied by luxury boutiques and the members-only Kee Club. At night, bird cages are hung along ropes that line the buildings with lights, evoking 1920s colonial Shanghai.

The stunning gallery space itself is encased in floor-to-ceiling glass and currently on display is a painting and drawing exhibition entitled Hybrid. The group show displays diverse interpretations of modern China, its influences and negotiating a balance between progress and tradition. Here are some of my favorite pieces:

Shen Fan
Shan Shui C-23 (Mountain and Water Landscape C-23)
Oil on canvas

An abstract rendition of the classic Chinese landscape motif. I loved the simplicity of this piece.

Zhou Zixi
Landscape No. 8
Oil on canvas

The limited color palette directs the focus to the composition and brushstrokes.

Zhou Zixi
Nightmare No. 1
Oil on canvas

Haunting. Frightening. Striking. The one open eye and vast green background add to the power of the work.

Sun Xun
Heroes No Longer No. 14
Charcoal on newspaper

From a series of drawings on newspaper, the fine details of the illustrations contrast the connect-the-dots theme, which brings a sense of playfulness to the otherwise dogmatic communist newspaper that comprises the background.

Zhao Bundi
Panada T-shirt Nurse

This nurse just looks so sexy and sinister. I had to share it.


Comments (3)

Pat Savoie

Mar 10, 07:52 AM

Cyn: I love these pieces. When I was in Shanghai a few years ago (1998??) I loved the contemporary art. Pat


Jun 22, 09:07 AM

I want one of those t shirts. Anybody know where I can get one ?


Jun 23, 09:50 AM

You can buy the t-shirt on-line from ShanghArt Gallery’s site:
or from:;jsessionid=c4fb841e3aa3a8ff44a02d8d9587

Hope you get your t-shirt!

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