Old shipyard reopens with contemporary art exhibition

Visitors can see photos about China over the past 40 years taken by a Pulitzer Prize winner, and also a bar inside what appears to be a toilet.
Ti Gong

The exterior of the MIFA 1862 art center which was transformed from a 155-year-old shipyard in Lujiazui area.

Yang Meiping / SHINE

A 155-year-old shipyard in Lujiazui area opened its doors to the public for the first time on Sunday with a contemporary art exhibition.

The yard has been renovated into a cultural and commercial complex.

One of the oldest shipyards in China, it symbolizes Shanghai's industrial civilization for over a century.

It is also the last piece of land to be redeveloped in the Lujiazui financial area. It is sited near the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai Jinmao Tower, Shanghai Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center.

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has spent more than five years transforming the plant into the MIFA 1862 art center.

Liu Xiaoyan, general manager of Residential Department, Operation Center at the Lujiazui Central Financial District (Phase II) Develop Corporation, said the company wished to add more cultural enjoyment activities in the area, especially after 10 pm every day. “Like most business centers in the world, the Lujiazui area became empty after employees return home,” she said.

“We wish people could still find somewhere to visit after work with cultural features and make culture part of their life.”

Yang Meiping / SHINE

The exhibition displays photographs, installations, videos and performances presented by 11 artists. These include pictures taken by Liu Heung Shing, a photojournalist renowned for documenting China over 40 years and a Pulitzer Prize winner.

The photos include news makers, such as dancer Jin Xing, actress Gao Yuanyuan and writer Guo Jingming, but also some about the lives of ordinary citizens, such as women having their hair permed in the 1980s and a young professional woman driving a car in the 2010s.

“As an observer, when you look at the moments of these people, you can see the change of a country over a long period of time, such as development of individuality along with social and economic growth,” said Liu.

Yang Meiping / SHINE

Elsewhere at the exhibition are three videos presented by artist Yang Zhengzhong.

One of them show a young woman puffing and every time she puffs, a video on the opposite wall has the scene of Nanjing Road E. moving backward for 10 meters. It seems that the woman is moving the scene by puffing. 

Yang Meiping / SHINE

One installation could easily be mistaken for a toilet. The golden box has two doors with male and female signs like those people see at public conveniences. But when people enter, they will find a shared space for both sexes and a mini bar with alcohol.

The aim is to inspire people to rethink their interpersonal relationships.

Yang Meiping / SHINE

The exhibition will run till January 29. Ticket prices range up to 128 yuan (US$19.50).

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