Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Space to think

After my first intensive language experience in Shanghai - three hours one-on-one with a teacher who speaks no English - I was so wiped out I fled to an excellent exhibition of contemporary Chinese photography across the city. It was in the Minsheng Museum, which is located in the "Red City," an old steel mill complex that's now a carefully unlandscaped open space full of galleries and cafes (and a Zojirushi showroom!). In the midst of it all is the Shanghai Sculpture Space, which was full of small kids and their minders, and some interesting art, too.

  The entirely splendid red-brick Mercedes sportscar is by a Dai Jun but I don't know who's resonsible for the fat thinker, a sort of cross of Rodin and the smiling Buddha. The smiley people are, I'm assuming, by Yue Minjun, who's made the wide smile a sort of artistic trademark. Kids were playing around the artworks but one of them seems to be taking on a special life. As I was standing there an older jogger stopped at the fat thinker and touched his left hand, right hand and right knee before moving on. You can see that others have been doing the same, especially the hand on the knee. There might be a story here, or maybe it's just irresistible not to touch the shiny area in the bronze where others have already been; maybe stories come later.

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