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Public art you can interact with

CREATING public art is not simply "putting" painting, sculpture or other art forms in a public place.

"There should be some interactive power between the public and art," says Chen Yanyin, a well-known local sculptor at the Shanghai Sculpture and Oil Painting Institute. "Public art is not simply putting art in a public area."

Chen's works are on display at M50 in a show with 12 other artists and groups from the Fine Arts College of Shanghai University.

The exhibit is titled "Sea Level: Painting and Public Art, Shanghai." Shanghai is known as the city at sea level.

The show features sculptures, blueprints and installations.

Xiao Min's model "Here" features old sculptures deliberately wrapped in concrete. It evokes nostalgia for the days when material life and needs were simple.

This work was created for Shanghai's western Caoyang area, once filled with factories and workers' residences.

Workers' housing was built by the government in identical "match-box" style, now out of date. "That's why I decided to fuse some unfamiliar colors from the familiar things," says Xiao about his concrete-covered sculptures. "It's akin to the fixed memory fragments that once belonged here."

Artist Wang Haisong recycles empty mineral water bottles, fashioning them into a little telephone booth, kiosk and small flower shop.

"I intend to build a small orderly space with my sculpture in a big disordered space," he says.

Participating artists are having a serious think about the relationship between the public and art ?? in a wider sense. Some of the art seems to be melted into surroundings, rather than standing distinctly apart. They have abandoned stereotypical "play" with geometric forms; instead they explore the subtle relations between people and the outside world.

Feng Feng's sculpture titled "From Jade Buddha Temple to Jade Buddha Temple" describes the contradictory relationship between two men or two objects. Sometimes, both lean to the same side, while remaining separate and exclusive.

Date: through January 19, 10am-4pm

Address: 1/F, Bldg 6, 50 Moganshan Rd


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