It is no secret for those who know me well, that I do not like late modernism or conceptual art. And I say late modernism, because I do like the beginning of the modernist movement that is realism, impressionism, and even some of the post-impressionism. It is when we come to the fauvism, cubism and dadaism that you loose my interest. There are exceptions, there always is, but as a whole, no thank you. The same with conceptual art. I never understood conceptual art. Why should we think something is art just because an artist says it is? I guess it started with Duchamp, when he signed that pissoir or urinal and called it art. After that we got cows sawed in two, burning computers and I know not what all. You get the drift.
For me personally, art involves a certain amount of craftsmanship. Take abstract art, as an example. There is a lot of abstract art that I do not like or consider to be 'good' art. But there are also some abstract artworks that are some of the most beautiful things I have seen. You would think that abstract art is easy to do, but it is not. Good or great abstract art is more difficult than painting something representative. When you paint a flower or a bird, even if it is not very well painted, your brain will fill in the rest and you have something to 'hold on' to. When you paint abstract you have nothing but colours and composition to create something out of just paint, and to do that well you have to understand said colour and composition.
You might ask what caused this little rant of mine. I could go on and discuss this further (and probably will in a later post), but this will do for now as an introduction to today's topic. Art galleries. I decided to go and have a little closer look at the art scene in Shanghai and look up some galleries. I must admit that I am not impressed. I know there are contemporary artist here in China that paint and make stuff I would love to see, but that is not the kind of art that is shown in the Galleries I have visited so far. In most galleries I didn't even bother to take out my camera to take pictures. Others would maybe have loved the art that I did not, but I had expected to find more than one gallery that wasn't filled with only conceptual art. Oh well. I still have a few galleries and a museum or two left on my list, so maybe I will find something I do like.
Below are pictures from the galleries that I did take some pictures from. It was mostly the space and the buildings that I found impressive, though.
This is the SGA gallery, on the Bund. Beautiful light and big. The first thing I saw however when entering the gallery, was the spilled soup on the floor. My expectations dropped drastically. I am sorry, but I do not think that is art. Or at least, it is not the kind of art that I want to go out to galleries and museums to enjoy. I think I might be born in the wrong century when it comes to art... *smiling big*
The big painting of the bowl was one of the few things in this gallery that I enjoyed.
Next one is Pearl Lam Galleries. They had an exhibition with the Indonesian artist Gatot Pujiarto.
This was a great space. It had a feeling of being in the dungeon somewhere. There were maybe one or two paintings that I liked where the colours and composition appealed to me, but the was it. Big works of art, but not in my taste.
Plenty of wall space, and very well lit. The things you could do in here...
Rockbund Art Museum. This was the only room I enjoyed in this museum. I like the light, and I like how the silk paintings are hung from the ceiling so that you can look at them from both sides. The rest of the museum was what got me writing the rant above in the first place. This is an 'Art museum' that you have to pay admission to get in. But the 'art' for me was highly questionable. I do apologize to any of you who does this kind of art and think it is important that it is done, but I just do not get it. If I want to see a pole dancer sleeping up side down on her pole, I can go to a club. If I want to see a female dancer trying to dance as a male, I can go to a music or dance performance, but does it belong in an art museum? And lastly, I definitely do not want to see your dying grandmothers last moments on camera. I'm sorry, but that is in my opinion just so disrespectful!! Ok, rant over, I promise.
Bund 18 Jiushi Art Gallery. Finally an art gallery that I actually enjoyed walking around in. It was really interesting to see Chinese landscapes painted in a familiar impressionistic style. They were lively and bright, and even if I maybe wouldn't hang any of them on my wall at home, it felt like I at least understood them. I could admire the use of colours here, or the use of brushstrokes there, and.... well, you get my meaning.
It was an interesting Gallery. It went around an indoor balcony where you could look down to the cafe and shops below.
That was it for this week. If you have made it this far in the text: what do you think of conceptual art? Are you more forgiving than I am or are you a 'traditionalist' just like me? I would love to hear your opinions!