Showtime where you least expect to find it
Photographer Gu Huaye sees the city of Shanghai as a giant performance stage, where dramas are taking place anytime at any place.
With camera in hand, Gu wanders between back alleys, along small roads and around street corners to capture "showtime" and the faces of street "performers" he bumps into.
Gu's solo exhibition "Metropolis Roam" is in full swing at M50 Art Park. Forty-five different photographs unveil another side of the city, which might be absurd and theatrical yet thought provoking.
"The absurdity of those 'performances' implies a metaphor behind them, which I'd like to invite viewers to explore together with me," Gu said.
In one photo, two fire hydrants tightly wrapped with rust-colored cushion are placed on empty pavement in the dark night. Seen from a distance, they resemble two men lying flat on their backs with their arms outstretched, as if they're struggling and crying for help. Dimly lit, the shadows of tree leaves projected onto a white wall add a touch of despair to the ambience.
In another, a green tree is blocking a women's head painted on a large advertising lamp box. Gu, cleverly making use of this displacement, creates an optical illusion where it appears the woman has a tree for a head, a kind of urban absurdity with a sense of dark humor.
"Sometimes, a quirk, a gesture or a facial expression can tell one's entire life story. Gu's 'performers' in his lens, not only people but also objects, can reveal another side of a street, a neighborhood and even a city," said the critic and curator Lin Lu.
"They are putting on big shows every day, and making the city fresh and alive."
Dates: Through October 24 (closed on Mondays), 9:30am-6pm
Venue: Ruipin Gallery
Address: M50 Art Park, 4C-107, 50 Moganshan Road