For art lovers and explorers alike, Moganshan Art District in Shanghai, is well worth a visit – even if modern art isn’t really your thing.
Easily accessible by subway and a bit of a walk, the graffiti lined hoarding (that Banksy would be proud of) which leads you to a maze of exhibition spaces has an urban, industrial feel. It leaves you wondering whether you are actually entering a part of East London’s derelict industrial past rather than a contemporary corner of downtown Shanghai.
In a country where originality and innovative thought are largely quashed at birth and state controlled communication offers only diluted input from the outside world, the creativity and controversial pieces on display are a testament to the rebellious youth borne out of the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution.
There is an inspirational mixture of sculpture, ceramics, paintings, traditional techniques combined with state of the art digital installations – some with a communist theme, both satirical and historic. Huge models and handmade goods have an interesting take on global icons and propaganda paraphernalia. There’s also a range of quirky eateries and watering holes, all showcasing the best work from some of China’s rising stars.
We stumbled upon one gallery with an opening party and were given a giant glass of French red – the first all trip and it was divine! That, combined with the cosmopolitan café culture vibe, an alfresco cappuccino and an eclectic display of talent in a peaceful, funky and modern setting was the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of Shanghai.
And, just when we thought we’d seen enough, on our walk back to the subway a guy cycled past on his bike shouting “Hi….You like?” only for us to realise his trousers were underdone around his waist and he was frantically flailing his flaccid penis around with the hand that wasn’t on the handle bars! Shocked and stunned we giggled our way back to the subway station like a pair of kids!
A perfect place to spend a Sunday in Shanghai, but you might see more than you bargained for!