Art News

This Is Utopia @ LWH Gallery

You are reaching for a cup of coffee on your desk. When you drink it, it is not warm. You are unhappy that it has turned cold. What do you think is the cause of your unhappiness? Is it the fault of the coffee or is it because you can feel the temperature of the coffee? Or is it simply just...You.
We are upset because we ‘expect’ the coffee to be warm. Our wants and desires are often the root cause of our unhappiness. We believe that we are intelligent beings, we can satisfy our wants, dictate our life, our environment and our world. As such, we get upset when things do not go our way.
What if we just appreciate everything, as it is – even that lukewarm cup of coffee? If we could do that, wouldn’t we be happy with all that we have. Wouldn’t we be living in a state of Utopia?
In this exhibition, some of the artworks showcase the artist’s sensitive portrayal of a slice of their heaven on earth, while others express their pursuit of the spiritual utopia. There are artworks that deliberate on the mindless decimation of humanity and rampant destruction of cultural heritage by extreme ideological groups.
Featuring artists are from South East Asia and China… This is Utopia. Or is it?
This Is Utopia runs from 1 October to 30 November @ LWH Gallery . Room 102, Building 14, G/F, 50 Moganshan Lu, near Xi Suzhou Lu. Tel: 187 0171 7975. Web:

Affect/Effect: Transformation in the Work of Li Wei @ Art+ Shanghai Gallery

In her latest solo exhibition Affect/Effect: Transformation in the Work of Li Wei, Beijingbased artist Li Wei continues her pictorial strategies of deconstructing and rebuilding China’s landscape scenery in her signature technique. Her latest series of works is based on a line from Phoenix Hairpin, a well-known poem by poet Lu You (1125 – 1210) written during the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279). The poem, a proclamation of love for his ex-wife, speaks of the sorrow the two former lovers experienced after an encounter in a courtyard with her new husband. Li Wei’s red and green paintings capture this sentiment by emphasising absence through shadows and imprint, focusing on visual landscapes by using the silhouettes of natural forms as metaphors for memory and loss.
Echoing the melancholic tone of her red wall willows, Li Wei has created a series of green bamboo paintings as homage to her historic predecessors of traditional ink paintings for whom bamboo in poetry and paintings is abundant in symbolism. However, her willows and bamboo are similar to those of traditional Chinese ink paintings in subject only, Li Wei having developed her own contemporary technique of landscape painting. Her particular process is arduous, beginning with photo documentation enlarged to the point of pixel abstraction and later returned to a recognisable image through several layers of paint on canvas or silk. On full display in Art+ Shanghai Gallery’s presentation of Affect/Effect, the layers of process and meaning in Li Wei’s work are unfolded and revealed to viewers as they reflect on the perception of time.
Affect/Effect: Transformation in the Work of Li Wei runs from October 23 to December 31 @ Art+ Shanghai Gallery. 191 Nan Suzhou Lu, near Sichuan Zhong Lu. Tel: 6333 7223. Web:


“Rings on Fire” by Phil Akashi @ Shanghai Swatch Art Peace Hotel
Fascinated with the aesthetic of Asian characters and passionate about Asian seals, Akashi has built his artistic identity with an Asian essence.
Akashi is currently participating in the Swatch Art Peace Hotel Artist Residency in Shanghai as an artist in residence for six months. He was selected by the Swatch Artists Selection Committee, composed of François-Henri Pinault, George Clooney, Nayla and Nick Hayek, Esther Grether, Mikhail Kusnirovich and Sir Francis Yeoh.
In the Rings on Fire trilogy series, Akashi explores the institution of marriage – he wants viewers to question the meaning of marriage and its effect on happiness. To do this, the artist rejuvenates the functionality of the Double Happiness character "囍” commonly used in China as a decoration and symbol of marriage. The first chapter of the trilogy - Tradition - refers to the social and cultural values of marriage, and is executed using cinnabar paste on Xuan paper. The second chapter - Challenge - explores the contemporary revolution in marriage and its consequences; it is printed on fine art paper, with splashed ink. The series final chapter - Wisdom of Happiness – ends with an ultimate question: is marriage both a cause and an effect of happiness?
“Rings on Fire” by Phil Akashi runs from 28 October to 27 November @ Shanghai Swatch Art Peace Hotel. 23 Nanjing Dong Lu, near Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu. Tel: 2329 8500. Web: