Hong Kong may be the current focus of the artworld’s attention, but for those of you planning a trip to Mainland China, here’s ArtReview Asia’s pick of the current crop of exhibitions in Shanghai
Wang Zhibo: He No Longer Looks Human, Edouard Malingue Gallery
through 6 May
The status of objects (ranging from human bodies to vegetables) in a world of digitised spectacle is the subject of the works of Hangzhou-based artist, Wang Zhibo. Her figurative paintings use traditional art-historical genres (the still life, the formal portrait, depictions of classical statuary) to explore people and objects that no longer have the fixed representational or symbolic status that allowed those genres to operate. Within that blurred faces, empty heads, absurd juxtapositions, minotaur-like figures and muscular female torsos are further deployed to subvert gender hierarchies and the fixity of meanings in a series of potent studies.
Li Ming: 1703, Antenna Space
through 4 May
The winner of the Hugo Boss Asia Award for emerging artists in 2017, Li Ming (also Hangzhou-based) uses moving images, sound and installation to transform the gallery into a space of potential. The exhibition begins with a door numbered 1703 propped against the gallery wall in the foyer and ends, via a series of the artist video works, in the back room of the gallery. There we find a series of wrapped and half-wrapped objects (that are at once suggestive and mute), pictures of art handlers packing, and are greeted with a sound recording of the technicians going about their work. The show acts as a memorial to the space and the activities that occurred within it, an attempt to preserve and explore the creative possibilities of an art space (as well as its fragility – within artistic, social and political contexts), and the alchemical process that transforms dumb objects into artworks.
Michael Dean: Analogue LOL, Shanghart
through 13 May
Subversion is again a theme in British sculptor Michael Dean’s first solo exhibition in China, which concretises (literally) the language of social media. Dean’s contribution to last year’s Skulptur Projekte Münster was one of the standout works in the show and his considerable talents continue to be showcased in a series of sculptures arranged to create a social space. Dyed books, gesturing hands, an abundance of LOL-related emojis and a focus on the vernacular of the urban environment (concrete, padlocks, tiles), guide this engaging exploration of the status of language and sociability in contemporary life.
Walking through the Fade Out Lines, Rockbund Art Museum
through 27 May
Part worldmap, part history (of art practices dating form the end of the last century through to the present), this group exhibition features a selection of works from the collection of the Turin-based Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo to explore the regional and international languages and perspectives of the global artworld. A series of elegantly minimal new commissions by Shanghai-based Zhang Ruyi helps ground an assembly of works by international heavyweights such as Maurizio Cattelan, Charles Ray, Sarah Lucas, Hassan Khan, Paul McCarthy, Mark Manders, Rudolf Stingel and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
Kathleen Ryan: Man Made Moon, CC Foundation & Art Center
through 27 May
At the other end of the scale is this modest presentation of three works by American sculptor Kathleen Ryan, which (literally) revolves around the ceramic and steel work Frequency (2018). The latter has the look of a circular drying rack from which myriad ceramic globbets drip in an appropriately lunar colour-scheme of blues, greys and off-whites. Ryan’s works combine toughness, delicacy and simplicity in to produce objects that are always more than the sum of their parts.
Online exclusive published 27 March 2018