On 16 December, 2017, The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art collaborates with Shanghai Aegean Place to present the large-scale public art project, “Mirroring,” inviting 20 artists in China and abroad to create a series of entirely public artworks spanning the mediums of paint, installation, video art, site-specific art, and performance art, all based on Shanghai Aegean Place’s unique structural characteristics and geographic qualities.
Art spaces and artworks change with each new development in science and technology, and the position of the audience in relation to these changes reveals the aesthetic and social standards of the time. The city is both the medium and intermediary for today’s art. Urban planners distribute space both to direct people and flows of production and consumption. Within the city, large-scale shopping complexes are nodes for the social exchange of knowledge, information, tastes, and purchasing power. The shift from large department stores to shopping complexes and malls reflects the rapid industrial or post-industrial changes happening in the contemporary megacity. Shopping centers—the cradle for and result of material accumulation, and also meeting place for today’s urban culture—now exhibit the characteristics of museums or art galleries. Within the shopping center physical, spiritual, and social space are combined into one: artistic practice intertwines with viewers’ expectations, providing a unique and integrated style that traditional exhibition venues cannot hope to match.
“Mirroring” explores the relationship between space and history, while responding to the new cultural considerations emerging from the collision between different cultural systems. The artworks included in “Mirroring” take the form of advertising images or moving bodies to hint at the mutually linked fates of countless individuals, or use contradictory visual clues and continuous dislocations to present a rich sensory rhetoric, or whose unique dimensions explore the changing relationships between subjects. “Mirroring” is both artwork and production: both the embodiment of an urban community and a place for this community to ask questions. The hope the project harbors is two-sided—hope that that viewers will be intellectually satisfied by, and inspired to co-create the meaning of, the art they view; and hope that artists can reflect on how art may contribute to urban regeneration, making cities and neighborhoods more vivid and hopeful, transforming Shanghai Aegean Place into a place to search for new experiences, and a site to develop links between audiences from different communities. By being seen, art becomes a mirror, reflecting back at us our imagination of and expectations for our era.
(in order of last name):
Chen Wenbo, Colin Siyuan Chinnery, Leandro Erlich, He An, Hou Yong, Li Jinghu, Li Liao, Liang Ban, Liang Manqi, Liu Ren, Liu Wei, Lu Pingyuan, Shi Qing, Sudden Design, Wu Tsang, Xu Qu, XU ZHEN, Yang Kai, Zhai Liang, Zheng Huan, Zhou Xiaohu.
“Mirroring” strives to make contemporary art accessible to the public, developing Shanghai Aegean Place into transparent, interactive, urban public art space that will help visitors to enrich their daily lives through artistic creation. “Mirroring” invites artists in China and abroad to create a series of entirely public artworks based on Shanghai Aegean Place’s unique structural characteristics and geographic location. Artworks include painting, installation, video art, site-specific art, and performance art. In 2017, the first iteration of “Mirroring” will be presented by Shanghai Aegean Place and Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, and curated by UCCA Deputy Director You Yang and Che Xuanqiao.
Deputy Director of UCCA You Yang has over ten years of experience related to art institutions. He has a keen interest in development of urban culture and consumer culture, and his responsibilities include museum manager, columnist, curator, museum management lecturer, public relations and and marketing expert, and more. He is the curator of several large-scale exhibits, including “Juqi” (2012, Lijiang), and “New Order: Altermondialisme” (2016, Sanya). Prior to joining UCCA, You Yang was the marketing director of the Chinese-language version of Time Out Beijing and the deputy general manager of the China International Gallery Exposition, the first large-scale contemporary art fair in China. He has also served as Asia consultant for the ART ASIA art fair, consultant for Hyundai Motorstudio, and more.
Che Xuanqiao is an art collector, director of the Shanghai Aegean Place Public Art Project, and board member of Red Star Furniture Group. Che’s responsibilities include organizer and curator of cultural and artistic collaborations, exhibition hall designer, art project leader, and public sculpture designer. She is assistant Curator of “M Home: Living in Space Redstar Macalline Art Project” (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2014). Che Xuanqiao graduated in 2014 with a degree in Business Economics from York University in Toronto.
We would like to express our thanks to Mr. Che Jianxin, the Chairman of Red Star Macalline Group Corporation; Madam Li Shuang, the President of Shanghai Xinhua Distribution Group; Mr. Huang Wenfu, the Vice President of Shanghai Xinhua Distribution Group, and Mr. Li Pengcheng, Assistant President of Shanghai Xinhua Distribution Group; Ms Sun Jingjing, the General Manager of Shanghai Aegean Place; Mr. Yang Yiming, the Associate Director of the Preparatory Department from the Aegean Group Construction Center; Ms. Mott Cheng, the Assistant General Manager of Shanghai Aegean Place; and Mr. Kim Jin, the Marketing Director of Shanghai Aegean Place.
We are grateful to the following artists and galleries: de Sarthe Gallery; Arario Gallery, MadeIn Gallery; XU ZHEN; Magician Space; White Space Beijing; and Galleria Continua (San Gimignano/ Beijing/ Les Moulins/ Habana).
Shanghai Aegean Place is China’s first integrated cultural and commercial experience, as well as Shanghai’s newest commercial landmarks, with a total surface area of 550,000 square meters. The main mall takes up 240,000 square meters; the furniture mall takes up 100,000 square meters, the international Street district takes up 95,000 square meters, and the ecology park takes up 50,000 square meters.
The Aegean Place is located at No. 1588, Minhang street, Shanghai, adjacent to Shanghai Metro Line 10, Longbo Xincun Station. The 4,800 square meter Art Space and adjoining Xinhua book store were designed by renowned architect Andou Tadao, combining art, humanities, and commerce. The Eye of Shanghai Shopping Arcade is a feat of cutting-edge architecture. Aegean Place also includes recreational spaces like the indoor ski resort and the international equestrian club. The aerial organic farm provides visitors a view of nature. This is a high end shopping center that is chic, culturally savvy, ecologically friendly, and sensitively-designed.
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art is the international institution at the heart of Beijing’s 798 Art District. Each year it presents a wide range of exhibitions and educational programs, highlighting artists from China and beyond, and encouraging the public to engage with contemporary art and culture. Opened in 2007, UCCA is a non-profit, non-collecting, non-governmental museum sustained by the generosity of numerous patrons, sponsors, members, and visitors, beginning with founders Guy and Myriam Ullens. In everything it does, UCCA aims to elaborate an inclusive, cosmopolitan vision of China in the world.