Tuesday, December 18, 2012

City at a Glance

Executive summary by darmansjah

One of china’s most massive and vibrant cities. Shanghai is heading places the rest of china can only fantastic about. Typifying modernChina while being unlike anywhere else in the land, Shanghai is a funky blend of art deco architecture, bullet-fast Meglevs, skyrocketing buildings, French patisseries, jazz, European streetscapes, charming 19th century alleys and cocktails on the Bund.

While it can hardly match the epic history of Beijing or Xi’an, Shanghai makes for a good epilogue or prologue to your china experience, with a unique story to tell, its sensational chapters found within its enigmatic foreign concession streetscapes. The bund, French concession and Shanghai Museum are incomparable top sights that cannot be missed.

The beauty and dynamism of the city is definitely not lost on the creative types, and Shanghai is now a forerunner in the China art scene. The scene began with the state run biennale in 1996, now practically ancient history by Shanghai standards, and grew with an explosion of private museums, galleries, studios and art fairs; though many contemporary art pieces are not just relegated to the confines of these institutions.
A broad range of contemporary art is at the very heart of the Swatch Art Peace Hotel project. The Swatch Art Peace Hotel Guest Artists Program invites known and unknown artist from around the world, including China, to live and work in artist studios on the hotel premises for periods of up to sic months. Current resident artist Luca Forcucci ( is an Italin and Swiss wound artist, performer and whose workd explores the perceptive properties of architectural spaces, city soundscapes, and abandoned spaces. He travels around the world to collect field recordings and to transform the material into movies for the ears. The collected recordings and to transform the material into movies come from the Amazon forest, Sanfransisco, Swiss alps and lakes, shanghai, Paris, Venice, Belfast and many others places. In order to explore the field of possibilities for sound in a context of music and art as experience, his work converge with dance, digital performance, poetry, architecture and neuroscience – lucalyptus.com)  shares with us a few of his favourites spots around the city.

A fantastic place to stay, the Swatch Art Peace Hotel is the ultimate dream for visiting artists. The facilities are top level, the team always ready to help you for any needs and thecross media community of international artists is the nest where solid friendships and professional networks are born. For guests, there are amazing rooms available on the fourth floor. The amazing terrace is a great place to stay with friends and enjoy a drink. A fantastic view of the Bund and the skyscrapers from the financial district is augmented at night by the crazy surrealistic lights and videos of Pudong’s buildings (swatchartpeacehotel.com).

This Thai restaurant is located in a courtyard of Fumin Road. The food is amazing thought it can be very spicy, so watch out. It’s a well-known location, churning out consistently good quality food. I like this place, especially during warm days; the cool garden is a wonderful place to have a dinner. Coupled with the soft glow of candles, cosy atmosphere and a lovely team, everything is in place to make you feel in a romantic mood. Bring a partner.

The Waldorf Astoria Bar is a piece of history related to the old British society. Opened in 1910 as the Shanghai Club, a private British gentlemen’s club, the place was known for tis 34 metre long bar counter carved out in raw mahogany. If you would like to have a taste of Shanghai in the 1930’s, this is the place to be. The old Shanghai atmosphere is enhanced by live jazz musicians; each time I visit, I feel like I am transported into a 1930’s movie (waldorfastoria.com).

For  interesting art piece, I always head to James Cohan Gallery, a gallery hidden in a garden of the former French concession. It hosts fabulous artists such as Nam Jene Paik, Wim Wenders, Robert Smithson, and most recently in April, an exhibition of Bill Viola (jamescohan.com)

The Former French concession is definitely an area of the town where it is a pleasure to get lost in day or night. I like this area because it is a relaxing respite from the gigantic and frenetic city with its multiple glass, steel and concrete skyscrapers. Here one can enjoy a walk in the streets surrounded by the old trees and discover old preserved buildings. At night, if you are in a mood for dancing try Lune or Craft; for a glass of wine try Salute or Dr wine.

No comments:

Post a Comment