CHRIS MOORE Shanghai-based writer and partner in the contemporary art investment firm, mooreandmooreart.co.uk
Yang Fudong, Dawn Mist, Separate Faith (2009)
1. Yang Fudong: Dawn Mist, Separation Faith, Zendai MoMA (Note: Zendai MoMA is being renamed ‘Himalayas Art Museum’ in preparation for their new eponymous museum)
An extraordinary combination of parody of Alain Resnais’ famous ‘Last Year in Marienbad’, cinephilia, social critique and poetic loss. The sound of the old-fashioned projectors against the ‘silent’ films of a ‘fictional’ romance and romantic view of Shanghai was both eerie and bewitching.
An exhibition of ‘clichéd’ views of Middle-Eastern art, or something else entirely. The most controversial show of the year was also its most multi-layered. Juggling notions of truth, sincerity, prejudice and parody, Xu Zhen’s arts collective ‘MadeIn’ was simultaneously questioning not only the business of curating and visiting exhibitions, but contemporary art full stop. Oh, and China, too.
3. Zhou Xiaohu: Military Exercises Camp – Rescue Plan 10,18, BizArt Centre
A maze of hay bales, a terrorist attack, oil, Sudan, Chinese oil-workers, soldiers, a gun-fight, journalists and hostages. It was fun, disturbing, critical, mesmeric and witty. And then the mobile phone rings. It’s them – they want you to pay the ransom.
4. “Bourgeoisified Proletariat” at Shanghai Songjiang Creative Studio
What a hike! But it was worth it. Playing off the nearby Ikea Distribution Centre in the midst of Shanghai’s outer ‘burbs, the show involved a whose-who of Shanghai art, eclectic but invigorating.
Anselm Kiefer in “Matters of Faith”
5. Matters of Faith: Anselm Kiefer, Nam June Paik, Bill Viola and Xu Zhen, James Cohan Shanghai
An exhibition about notions of religious faith, combining two of the most enigmatic artists (Paik and Viola) with two of the most excoriating (Kiefer and Xu).
6. “Wu Wei – Being & Nothing”, with Cindy Ng Sio Ieng, Ben Houge, Shi Zhiying, Wang Hui, and Wang Jun, art + shanghai
Sartre’s ‘Being and Nothingness’ never made more sense.
Bei Li Liu
7. Bei Li Liu: In between, Elisabeth de Brabant
This intensely sensual exhibition about transformation, memory and their relations was captivating precisely because of its lightness, most notably the work ‘Lure/Return’ (2009), involving hundreds of silk-thread poppies made if single-threads of coiled silk and hung from the ceiling, and which swayed gently in the still air of the gallery.
Liang Shuo’s “I Am Fucking Beautiful No.4″
8. “The shape of things to come”, 140sqm
Liang Shuo’s “I Am Fucking Beautiful No.4″, Sun Xun’s installation “Ceausescu’s Airship” (2009), Iane W. Ho’s ‘The Cover of the Society of Spectacle” (2009) and Qiu Xiao Fei’s ‘Golden Age’ (2009) was a heck of a lot to fit into such a small gallery. But it worked.
9. Jiang Zhi: Attitude, Osage
While the photographic portraits were ho-hum, the two video works were hum-dingers. In one, Vivian Wu, the Hong Kong actress, brings herself to tears apropos of nothing. In the other, seven people, naked but in their ordinary poses, wobble, at high speed. Don’t know what it meant but it was hilarious to watch.
10. The ones that got away
Two shows that I didn’t cover but should have: History in the Making: Shanghai 1979-2009 curated by Biljana Ciric at the Ke Centre, and Liang Shaoji: You si miao – an infinitely fine line, presented by Shanghai Zendai Museum of Modern Art Co-organized by ShanghArt Gallery.
Zendai MoMA, www.himalayasart.cn
Shanghai Gallery of Art, www.shanghaigalleryofart.com