*This is the first part of three writings exploring the transformative power of art. It unites different cultures while exposing common humanity. A trip revisited to China deepens connections abroad and at home…
China has become a second home. A year ago, that concept eluded my vocabulary. How these connections formed is quite astonishing. How they continue to flourish exceeds expectations. Kindness does extend past borders. With an open heart and awareness, I’ve been generously welcomed back to Shanghai for a second time. Home can and will be redefined.
With an exhibit at the Shanghai Oil Painting & Sculpture Institute Museum, I wanted to display works inspired by China from a Western perspective. Differences in language can be translated through art. My peers in the exhibit demonstrated dedication and mastery in their art practice. Professor He Wei invited two American artists: Corwin Clairmont and myself. It was an honor to be part of the club.
Installing the exhibit included a team of professionals waiting to assist. The Museum’s space was contemporary and grand allowing artworks to breathe. The venue provided air in which artists could create without the worry of limitations. It was perfection.
The opening included a press conference, interviews, and a beautiful catalog. Every detail was attended to with incredible generosity. Former Academy of Art University graduate and artist Qianhui De provided invaluable assistance through translation and insight. Answering questions was smooth and clear thanks to her miracle work. The event was a success!
The next day, General Manager Jason provided a tour of the Power Station of Art. According to their website: “Established on Oct. 1st, 2012, the Power Station of Art (PSA) is the first state-run museum dedicated to contemporary art in mainland China. It is also home to the Shanghai Biennale.” The impressive building is the former Nanshi Power Plant spanning 42,000 square meters with a 165-meter chimney. Its stature is overwhelming and purifying.
Walking into the main hall was the Baton Serpent III: Spur Track To The Left exhibit. Artist Huang Yongping’s large-scale installations combine Eastern philosophy mixed with Western religion undertones. A massive train car greets visitors with headless animals stumbling out of a spiritual collision. The herd migrates into a bamboo forest of bones at the museum.
Perspectives are moving, altering, and discovering new paths across oceans, language, and time. I’ve learned to be open to positive experiences that accept you as you are. Art has done that and continues to do so.