Annual art project sculpting urban space

Li Qian
The 2020 Jing'an International Sculpture Project, "Reshaping Space," features more than 50 works from an international array of artists.
Li Qian

Jing’an sits at the heart of Shanghai. It represents the essence of the history and culture of the city, home to century-old buildings, big-name attractions, glitzy retail malls and charming art galleries. Annual music and art events give the district a distinctive ambience. In this series, we showcase the highlights of Jing’an.

Annual art project sculpting urban space
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

“Moon Bay” by Chinese artist Liang Shaoji 

September Keywords: Sculpting urban space

The biennial sculpture fair returns to Jing’an this month.

The 2020 Jing’an International Sculpture Project, “Reshaping Space,” features more than 50 works from an international array of artists.

Most will be on display at the Jing’an Sculpture Park, while the rest will adorn Fengshengli commercial zone, Plaza 66 retail mall, Wujiang Road pedestrian street and Jing’an Foreign Language Primary School.

Public art promotes urban renewal and the public’s aesthetic consciousness. As such, this year’s fair takes place in numerous public spaces.

Sculptures not to miss include “We Are The World,” which aligns with the coronavirus outbreak, this year’s most resonant topic.

The work by China’s A.R.T. Institution consists of five boats filled with people in protective outfits, as well as animals such as zebras, pandas and dogs, a Noah’s Ark metaphor signifying global unity in the fight against the pandemic.

Artists in the exhibition say they’re paying tribute to this fight and hope to spark reflection on the relationship between humans and nature.

Richard Long, a renowned con - temporary artist from the United Kingdom, brought his “Four Ways” sculpture to Shanghai. Made of slates, it’s shaped like a cross and with a rustic quality reminiscent of mountains, rocks and untouched land.

Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou addresses the fate of human beings and the notion of a global village in his work. His sculpture, “The Talking Tree,” is made of plastic, metal and cement, and based on the African tradition of a talking tree where everyone is free to express themselves.

Annual art project sculpting urban space
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

“Unite” by Mexican artist Pedro Reyes

Annual art project sculpting urban space
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

“We Are The World” by China’s A.R.T. Institution

Shanghai native Liang Shaoji’s “Moon Bay,” made of stainless steel, expresses how human activities affect the natural world with reshaped exhaust pipes resembling trumpet shells that flow with ocean waves illuminated by the moon. The piece exemplifies how industrial products become organic life forms, ultimately returning to the natural world.

Mexican Pedro Reyes’ “Unite” is a giant red steel sculpture crafted as two people standing together with a “give me five” gesture. The sculpture explores interpersonal relationships as well as individuals and the society. He believes art is the most effective way to bring about social revolutions.

“Silver Mambo,” several giant bullet-size sculptures, was designed by Fake Studio, run by a couple of Chinese artists Fang Er and Meng Jing. More than mere sculptures, they’re also auditory installations that viewers can push to hear different sounds. The couple took recordings from daily life, such as noise from roads and construction sites, and embedded them into “Silver Mambo,” meant to reflect rapid social changes and represent a sign of the times.

“Reshaping Space” exhibits how personal memories can be combined with public spaces, and how people interact with artificial urban scenery.

Spanish artist Juan Garaizabal’s “Ever Time Gate” consists of 18 staircases leading to a door in the middle of the sky, symbolizing China’s open-mindedness to the world and the importance of traditional culture.

The fair runs through the end of 2020 and includes live music, flash mobs and photo competitions as well.

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