Citizen Art Shanghai 2013
Citizen Art Shanghai 2013 was launched at the Renaissance Yu Garden Hotel on May 31st - June 3rd. Set in Shanghai’s last remaining building built during the Ming Dynasty - island6 prepared a unique selection of artworks to assemble at the special Hotel Art Fair.
In producing cutting edge art that engages sights and scenes from old and new China, the work of the island6 Art Collective is a perfect example of Shanghai’s acceptance of change: classy yet modernistic and traditional yet fashionable. With their fingers firmly on the pulse of Shanghai, Liu Dao illustrates the vital signs of the city by evoking accepted customs into technology, and breathing life into electronically charged, mixed media art.
Taking inspiration from the name of the host, Renaissance not only describes the cultural movement from the later 15th century, but also the idea of Rebirth, a doctrine in Buddhism which evolves from consciousness upon death. This consciousness in the new person is neither identical nor entirely different from that in the deceased. But the two form a causal continuum or stream, just as Liu Dao present stories from unconscious moments in a world that lies in our imaginations and beyond, through using contemporary methods and themes but incorporating traditional concepts.
One very emblematic example is "Hanging Out For The Summer Sun" which sees LED legs poke out of clothes hanging against the old walls of a lane house. These bricked buildings which have become a part of the city’s history for more than 120 years, are slowly vanishing due to massive urban development. Liu Dao re-assembles the absent souls of these empty garments so we can watch their surreal conversation: Who are those people? What are they doing? Where are they going to be in the near future? The summer sun which dries them out not only evaporates traces of soapy suds, but also the fears and aspirations of a disappearing community.
In no other cultural tradition has nature played a more important role in the arts, than in that of China. And in no other modern society is economic growth as significant and visible as in the Middle Kingdom. Therefore, the leitmotif of island6’s contribution to Citizen Art Shanghai 2013 is subliminal but at the same time evident: Colourful flowers being switched-on by an invisible touch screen. Flickering LED goldfish that move with the dynamic fluidity of water. Kinky parrots having a chat on a power cable. These are all stories of a world in which what we see is not always the world we perceive.