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Nov 11 2021

What’s Up in Shanghai: November 2021

by The Editors

Shanghai’s annual art week—anchored by two fairs and numerous exhibitions at galleries and museums—means that the art scene is bustling every November. Even though most non-nationals still cannot easily visit Shanghai, the city has been relatively unscathed by lockdowns in the past year and remains a busy center of commerce and activity. Here’s a look around some of the major exhibitions taking place this month.

GARY SIMMONS, RGB, 2021, UltraChrom posters, glue, and varnish on wood, 243.8 × 365.8 × 15.2 cm. Copyright the artist. Photo by JJYPHOTO. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, New York / Los Angeles / Zürich / London / Somerset / Hong Kong / St. Moritz / Gstaad / Southampton / Monaco / Menorca.

Gary Simmons 
Tank Shanghai
Nov 10–Jan 19, 2022

Incorporating visual elements from garage bands and underground culture in the 1970s and ’80s, Gary Simmons’s paintings, sculptures, sound installations, and architectural environments explore notions of race, class, social stereotypes, and politics. For his latest project RGB (2021) he collected, cropped, reprinted, and rearranged posters from different eras before covering them in red, green, and blue, as an exploration of the DIY visual identifiers of punk, rap, and early hip-hop culture. 

GEORGE CONDO, Blues in A Minor, 2021, oil on linen, 203.2 × 177.8 × 3.8 cm. Copyright the artist. Photo by Lance Brewer. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, New York / Los Angeles / Zürich / London / Somerset / Hong Kong / St. Moritz / Gstaad / Southampton / Monaco / Menorca.

George Condo: “The Picture Gallery” 
Long Museum
Sep 26–Nov 28

George Condo’s largest solo exhibition in Asia surveys more than 200 paintings, sculptures, and drawings created throughout his career. Curated by Massimiliano Gioni in collaboration with architect Annabelle Selldorf, the exhibition showcases Condo’s works from the early 2000s reflecting on the consumerist culture and cult movies in the US, as well as the newly produced Blues Paintings (2021– ), a series of abstract paintings that translate the rhythm of blues music and free jazz onto the canvas. 

HERNAN BAS, The Start of the End of the Longest Drought, 2020, acrylic on linen, 213.4 × 182.9 cm. Courtesy Yuz Museum, Shanghai.

Hernan Bas: “Choose Your Own Adventure” 
Yuz Museum
Oct 28–Jan 9, 2022

Hernan Bas’s first solo exhibition in China borrows its title from the popular American children’s book series of the 1980s and ’90s, “Choose Your Own Adventure,” and spans 20 years of his practice. Known for his moody and evocative portrayals of teenagers and fantastical landscapes, Bas pays tribute to directors of apocalyptic films, reflecting on issues of climate change and the prophetic sense of doom felt by younger generations.  

NATHALIE DJURBERG and HANS BERG, Dark Side of the Moon, 2017, stop motion animation: 6 min 40 sec. Courtesy the artists; Tanya Bonakdar, New York / Los Angeles; Gió Marconi, Milan; and Lisson Gallery, London / New York / Shanghai.

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg: “A Moon Wrapped in Brown Paper” 
Prada Rong Zhai
Nov 11–Jan 9, 2022

The artist duo Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg built a universe of fairytale characters, animals, post-human creatures, and mysterious beings with their bizarre but delicate sculptures, installations, and stop-motion animations. The duo’s first show in China, titled “A Moon Wrapped in Brown Paper”—a line borrowed from Carol Ann Duffy’s poem “Valentine”—and curated by Yang Beichen, includes works created between 2000 and 2019 in an immersive, multi-layered setting, where audiences can examine these characters and their violent dreams.

NABUQI, Pet (Red), 2021, bronze, paint, 95 × 70 × 50 cm. Photo by Yang Xin. Courtesy the artist and Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong / Shanghai.

Nabuqi: “Ghost, Skin, Dwelling”
Avenue Apartments
Nov 10–Dec 12

Nabuqi’s “Ghost, Skin, Dwelling,” presented by Edouard Malingue Gallery and supported by Sifang Art Museum, explores the ambiguity between furniture and sculpture, as well as their functionality and aesthetics. Making use of the domestic environment of Avenue Apartments at Tongren Road, the project highlights her latest colorful bronze sculptures such as Pet (Red) (2021), which appears to be a stool covered in red paint, and Fossil No. 1 (2021), which imagines the afterlife of a broken street lamp. 

LIANG SHAOJI, Heavy Chain: The Unberable Lightness of Being, 2018–21, iron chain, silk, cocoons, 40 pieces, 200 × 110 × 18.5 cm each. Courtesy the artist and ShanghArt Gallery, Shanghai / Beijing / Singapore.

Liang Shaoji: “A Silky Entanglement”
Power Station of Art
Sep 29–Feb 20, 2022

Liang Shaoji started utilizing silk as a material for art in the 1980s, and created soft sculptures as a student of the Bulgarian textile artist Maryn Varbanov. Curated by Hou Hanru, the museum solo features Liang’s latest large-scale silk-based installations, such as the iron and silk installation Heavy Chain: The Unbearable Lightness of Being (2018–21), which plays with novelist Milan Kundera’s concepts of “light” and “heavy,” as well as his iconic black-and-white photo series Time and Permanence (1993–2018), which compares the silk cone with landmarks such as the Louvre pyramid. 

CHEN WEI, New Advertisement, 2021, photography, lightbox, 150 × 187.5 cm. Courtesy the artist and West Bund Museum, Shanghai.

Chen Wei: “Make me illusory” 
West Bund Museum
Nov 11–Feb 27, 2022

Chen Wei’s “Make me illusory” questions post-pandemic ideas of virtuality and reality, asking whether individuals living in front of screens still need intimate relationships and face-to-face interactions. The show’s centerpiece Concerto/Danmu (2021), an installation of videos, interactive elements, and analog-digital converters, discusses the bullet screen culture (danmu) on China’s internet platform and invites the audiences to add their own scrolling comments onto the work. 

ER GAO, Super Tight, 2012, still from performance video: 1 hr 10 min 30 sec. Photo by Li Jianyang. Courtesy the artist and Ming Contemporary Art Museum, Shanghai.

“Back to Stage” 
Ming Contemporary Art Museum (McaM)
Nov 13–Feb 13, 2022

Comprising an exhibition, screenings, six project spaces, and multiple performances and workshops, the three-month long “Back to Stage” features performance artists and collectives, including Xavier Cha, theater group Grass Stage, Patrick Tresset, among others from its five-year history to date. The main exhibition engages with the history of McaM’s space, which is the building of former Shanghai Paper Machinery Corporation, as well ideas of movement and the body, games and interactive works that challenge the idea of the white cube, and projects that focus on AI, video games, and post-human societies.  

ANDY WARHOL, Self-Portrait, 1978, acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen, 101.6 × 101.6 cm. Copyright 2021 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society, New York. Courtesy The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh and UCCA Edge, Shanghai.

“Becoming Andy Warhol”
UCCA Edge
Nov 6–Mar 6, 2022

With works selected from The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, this survey of the iconic American pop artist offers a 21st-century perspective on his multidisciplinary practice. Beginning with his working-class family history, this show emphasizes his photographic and film practices, as well as his more conceptual later works after his iconic pop-art phase.

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