“Bright Lights, Flashy Lifestyles” (繁华与炫耀灯光下的生活方式)
“Bright Lights, Flashy Lifestyles” exhibition poster

Flashes and bursts of wildly intricate colors light up the way as we travel the once dark streets. These bright neon lights are calling, and the only option is to surrender to their seduction dance. We are all subject to the ubiquitous presence of gleaming neon and bewitching messages stemming from our consumer-oriented lives. Island6’s newest exhibition takes on a playful perspective in an attempt to rediscover the magic behind these Bright lights and Flashy lifestyles. For a period of 9 weeks starting on the 25th September 2020, the island6 Moganshan road art space will be transformed with a fascinating presentation of exciting new artworks calling your name.
Existing as it does in a unique position - with one leg firmly planted in its native China and another tiptoeing through countries in the West - the island6 art collective has an unparalleled insight into the conflicts and contradictions of a modern consumer communist state like China. It is in this remarkable melting pot of ideas and values that the utterly distinctive style of folk-pop-advertising has grown and spread. It’s shiny-eyed cartoon characters now adorn every visual publication, be it the list of special offers this month at ‘Lawson Station’ or the softly spoken but utterly menacing guidance on how to cross the ‘569 Suzhou Nan Road’ correctly.
Just as ubiquitous, and probably just as distinctive, is the widespread commercial application of neon signs and LED dots that accompany even the humblest vendor’s place of commerce – from street side café shops, to 15-minute massage beds – the ‘Yellow, Red, And Neon Assault’ has become the most fundamental of marketing strategies for the aspiring capitalist trying to make his way in the modern world. And make his way he must, for the defining message for the 21st century citizen of China – or indeed the world – is to become rich and glorious; succeed as the citizen capable of the flashy lifestyle: stretch limos, expensive baijiu and the finest hairy crabs are but a commercially successful venture away.
For those still just on the way up – the menial worker or the jobbing gig economy driver – lunch for now will most likely be provided by the familiar and friendly glare of the mini mart chiller counter, its boiled egg steamer and its freeze-dried pot noodle bucket selection. Such is the vision of earthly delights that greets our weary Eleme driver as he considers his lunchtime culinary options – maybe it will be the ‘Super Tamade On Changhua Road’ – though his decision will be insidiously scrutinized by the beady eyes of the watchful folk-pop animal deities who stare down from their neon ancestral perches, in what is a mind-bending act of nihilism on their part… “No… don’t eat him – eat me, eat ME!”
For those a rung or two higher up the greasy pole of success, their midday sustenance may well be procured at the ‘Croquette Club’ – and why not?! Just look at the flashing, blinking incandescence that seduces the instinct as much as the corporeal shroud that houses it. What hot blooded mortal could resist the seductive temptations made explicit by the humming, fizzing messages that burn the corneas of those lucky enough to wander by the old ‘Croquette’? Lunch break may only be an hour, but 60 minutes is a whole lot of magic and mayhem if you have the cash, and the connections to get ‘The Prize’.
The subtle art of manipulation and messaging, and its age-old expression through luminescence and luster, are playfully explored here, in the inimitable approach of the island6 collective. We are electrified to have you join us, in what will surely be a thrilling and dynamic exhibition surrounded by phosphorescent and tri-colored glory. For the duration of this show, at least, we can all be part of the Bright lights and Flashy lifestyle.
From September 25th to November 25th, 2020
Nick Hersey
Thomas Charvériat
Iris Gardener
Wang Tie Zhong 王铁中, Owen 欧文, Weng Dongxiao 翁东晓, Gao Lei 高磊
Serena Charvériat-Young 杨倩菁
island6 art collective (Liu Dao 六岛)
island6 Main Space, 50 Moganshan Road, building #6, 2/F, Shanghai
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