In the second installment of their Things from the Gallery Warehouse series, ShanghArt presents large scale installations from Shanghai based artists Hu Jieming, Yang Zhenzhong, and Shao Yi. As with the first edition, the works presented are intended to highlight the foundation of ShanghART's artists by showing works that emphasize a strong conceptual approach to practice rather than aesthetics. From Hu Jieming is a piece originally shown at the San Francisco MoMA in 2000, 1999-2000 Legend. From December 31st 1999 to January 1st 2000, the artist collected screen captures of images taken from the web and television and created a maze of film slides for viewers to walk through. The way the viewer navigates the floor to ceiling images echoes the way we often navigate the barrage of images and information we get on a daily basis. The artist succeeded in creating a maze that, while not particularly large, is complex enough to easily get lost and disoriented.
Yang Zhenzhong's contribution from 2003, Massage Chairs: Then Edison's direct current was surrendered to the alternating current, consists of massages chairs stripped down to their mechanical skeleton. With the upholstery ripped away, the chairs seem menacing, almost perverse, and the mechanic sounds threatening, belying the original intentions of these structures. It has been a few years since this piece was last shown, as evidenced by broken motors and the staccato motions of the massage balls. This only adds to the disturbingly hypnotic feel of the piece; one becomes aware that they are watching once glorious machines on their last legs. Echoing the subtle political undercurrents and dissonant quality of Massage Chairs is Shao Yi's Broadcast, consisting of Cultural Revolution era speakers the artist collected from rural areas around China. The viewer is confronted with a barrage of voices blaring from the speakers at once. Political propaganda intermingles with regular conversations – it is impossible to distinguish which is which. The artist perfectly encapsulates the atmosphere of China during the Cultural Revolution, when politics infiltrated private lives to the point where politics was life, which can also be applied to modern day talking heads that we confront in the news media. ShanghArt may dusting off old works but they remain as relevant today as they did when they were first shown.
Arts Specialist & Cultural Guide