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September 17, 2009

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Hailing German design, creativity

GERMAN Week features the best of German design, industry and contemporary art, as well as food, beer and wine, song and dance. Xu Wei visits Shanghai Times Square where festivities begin tomorrow. German Week, an autumn tradition in Shanghai, opens tomorrow at Shanghai Times Square as part of the ongoing Shanghai Tourism Festival.

The exhibition and events through September 28 will showcase the creativity of the latest German products, innovative contemporary artworks, traditional German songs as well as dances, beer, wine and food. A contemporary art exhibition will run through October 12.

"High-end spiritual experience" is what Cathy Hau, deputy general manager of the shopping hub, calls the exhibition and events.

This is the eighth year of the event in Shanghai.

The activities are organized by Shanghai Times Square and supported by the Consulate General of Germany in Shanghai and the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce.

Many well-known enterprises will be represented, including Porsche, Zoemo, Siemens, Bosh, Osram and Schwarzkopf.

The exhibits will emphasize traditional German elements: universally acknowledged craftsmanship, quality of legendary brands and creative design.

A new section has been added this year, the China-German Contemporary Art Exhibition. It shows achievements of contemporary art in both countries, exemplifying the core concept "Every human being is an artist" put forward by German installation artist, art theorist and philosopher Joseph Beuys.

In Beuys' opinion, art aims at freeing everyone. Everyone is free to create in a different field. He believed that ordinary people should interact with art and in this way imagination can be developed, creativity be promoted and thinking shaped.

During the festival at Times Square, about 20 celebrated Chinese and German contemporary artists will present their paintings, installations, sculpture, new media and other art.

Chen Hangfeng's installation and new media work is titled "Everything in Times." It uses a series of cameras to produce moving images, like a kaleidoscope, and sound effects so that a live display of the event will appear both inside and outside the shopping mall simultaneously.

Installation artist Alexander Brandt presents "TV Intimacy."

Four comfortable armchairs are arranged in a dimly lit space in pairs. Each one is composed of an empty armchair facing another armchair on which "sits" a large TV set. One set shows the freeze-frame waist-up image of a young man, the other that of a woman - both appear posed to make a pronouncement.

Whenever a viewer takes a seat, the TV person opposite will begin to make a passionate declaration of love to the viewer. After a while, the person on the screen incorporates data from the viewer.

If, for example, the viewer happens to wear a green shirt, the TV person would say "Oh, I like your green shirt." Whenever the viewer smiles, the TV person smiles back or laughs, mirroring the behavior and says, "You see, you are laughing, I know you like me, too."

Then the viewer begins to wonder how this TV image could possibly be so perceptive and individually responsive. Realization comes later after the viewer gets up from the chair. He or she walks up stairs, looks into a viewing panel at a closed-off room. There is a real-live person sitting in an identical armchair, watching the viewer in the other armchair and responding.

Hau, from Shanghai Times Square, says: "We hope more people can participate in artistic creation."

Date: September 18-28, 10am-10pm (art exhibition running through October 12)

Venue: Shanghai Times Square, 99 Huaihai Rd M.

Admission: Free

Tel: 6391-0691


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