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The camel in shades comes to Bund 18

From Shanghai Daily Author: Wang Jie 2007-11-23

After languishing for years, the Creative Center at Bund 18 has been totally renovated and reopens with a big-name show by Zhou Tiehai, known for his humorous camels, and Zhang Peili, famous for his striking video art, writes Wang Jie.

Despite its great location on the Bund and a splendid view of the Huangpu River, the Creative Space at Bund 18 didn't generate much excitement after it opened several years ago. Much of the time it was empty except for cartoon and design shows.

Now it has undergone complete renovation, and reopens with the exhibition "Bamboo/Happiness" by major figures in the contemporary art scene - painter Zhou Tiehai, known for his camel portraits, and video artist Zhang Peili. The show is filled with humor, satire and thought-provoking images.

Zhou, 41, is noted for his bemused camels wearing sunglasses but he has tried strenuously to break away from the camels in his "Tonic" and "Movie Stars" series.

In this exhibit, the Shanghainese artist incorporates "bamboo," one of the symbols of ancient literati and Chinese culture. The exhibition is akin to a small retrospective of his past works and current paintings.

There is no apparent link between his different pieces. Zhou is not "loyal" to his "trademarks," even though they brought him fame, and he replaces them with new brands.

Yet the most eye-catching works are still the happy camels.

Zhang, 50, from Hangzhou is famous for his video installations. He is known for taking the movie scenes of proletarian heroes' last words and combining them into a single humorous loop.

One work on display features a circle of televisions screening the dancing scenes of people from the 1980s; it's a bit disappointing as it's less profound and insightful than his other works.

Another work features a huge screen showing a 1980s Chinese film, accompanied by audience applause. It suggests pure happiness, one of the themes of the show.

In an effort to attract more visitors, the renovated center offers a cafeteria, so that visitors can enjoy art and a snack.

Date: through December 12, 10am-7pm

Address: 4/F, 18 Zhongshan Rd E1

Tel: 6323-8099

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