Art News

Monkey Pilgrim @ Beaugeste Photo Gallery

As a social and ecological documentary on the conditions of an ancestral partnership between man and monkey, with China’s high-speed urban development as backdrop, Monkey Pilgrim is a modern tale of a journey to the dead-end for the vanishing cultural heritage of street performers. These farmers of Henan, monkey breeders and trainers, have been realistically portrayed over a 12 year span by Ma Hongjie, in a captivating portrayal that questions the existential issue of conviviality between man and tamed animal in modern industrialised society, thus questioning our own basic humanity. The exhibition encompassing 40 prints of colour photographs.
Monkey Pilgrim runs until March @ Beaugeste Photo Gallery. Studio 519, Building 5, Lane 210 Taikang Lu, near Ruijin Lu. Tel: 6466 9012. Web:

Materialised Sentiments @ Pearl Lam Galleries

This exhibition takes the physical qualities of painting, sculpture and installation works as a starting point, aiming to reveal diverse sentiments that lie in specific choices of material. When material comes to the forefront, it reveals an ever immediate, direct and intimate relationship between object and artist, while concealed within, is a long-standing enquiry into human nature and unforgettable experiences of history that still hold their effects in the present day. As a reaction against the grand narrative of modernism, contemporary art since the 1990s has focused on the ‘small' or microscopic, the everyday, and the sphere of personal experiences, whereas objects or materials have played an intermediary role, rooted in reality and connected to the vision of freedom and imagination. A panoramic view of time emerges from the ‘smallness’ of materials.
Materialised Sentiments runs until 13 March @ Pearl Lam Galleries. G/F, 181 Jiangxi Zhong Lu, near Fuzhou Lu.
Impermanent Sceneries: Group Exhibition Featuring Hu Weiqi, Sun Yu and Zhang Wenchao @ Art+ Shanghai Gallery
In the gallery’s first exhibition of 2016, three young Chinese artists present works that stake a perspective, questioning our understanding of Shanghai and expose its inherently fluid nature. With bold combinations of colour highlighting the nervousness, contradictions and absurdity of the mental pressures of the contemporary city in paintings of oil on canvas, Chongqingbased artist Hu Weiqi draws attention to the oxymoronic situation of the saturated vacuum – places chock full of images and eye-catching headlines that are devoid of actual stories – what French theorist Debord defines as a “society of spectacle.” Similarly, Beijing artist Zhang Wenchao’s perception of the city’s rapidly changing content results in a forging of the artist’s memory of urban life, creating a fictionalised version of the city that is real only in virtual reality. His works of painting and projection transform the idea of the city into the besieged fortresses of adventure games, with newly constructed complexes dotting the urban landscape appearing as Tetris-like patterns in oil on canvas, while digital video projection adds ceaseless movement to the vacant painted sceneries. In a close reading of Shanghai’s Da Shijie (ç, Great World) amusement arcade and entertainment complex, Beijing-based artist Sun Yu analyzes the architectural modifications undergone by the 1917 structure over the past century. By visually tracking the large-scale transformations in his works of print and painting, Sun Yu conceptually explores the accompanying shifts in the mentality of China’s consumerist society, which is always in need of ever-more spectacular sceneries.
Impermanent Sceneries runs until 28 February @ Art+ Shanghai Gallery. 191 Nan Suzhou Lu, near Sichuan Zhong Lu. Tel: 6333 7223. Web: