• Shows
  • May 08, 2020

What’s Up in Shanghai: May 2020

As Shanghai eases its Covid-19 measures, art institutions have been slowly re-opening since mid-March, with several staging exhibitions addressing the current state of events. Precautions such as temperature monitoring and face masks are still in place, and some spaces are by appointment only. Here is a selection of the shows to see for the new season.

DING LI, Young Woman 9, 2019, oil on canvas, 80 × 60 cm. Courtesy the artist and MadeIn Gallery, Shanghai.

MadeIn Gallery

Apr 12–May 30

Ding Li’s solo show “April 12th, No. 106, 2879 Longteng Avenue” not only debuts the artist’s latest semi-abstract portraits, but also reveals his creative process by recreating his studio within the aptly named show. On March 17, Li moved his work space to the gallery, and will continue to develop his painting series and sketches there until the end of May, on view to the public. The paintings of anonymous figures are charged with emotions, removing the feelings of alienation between strangers, while the artist’s performance further strengthens the urgency for human connection in light of the current crisis.

Installation view of ZHU XIANGMIN and HAM

Arario Gallery

Apr 18–May 31

Appropriately named in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, “Reboot” is Arario’s first off-line exhibition after its reopening and presents the latest artworks from Zhu Xiangmin and Chen Yihan (Ham). Both artists portray imaginative narratives in an exploration of self-consciousness: Zhu paints a dreamland of fantastical colors depicting imageries of skeletons, tattoos, and female bodies, while Ham staged a “mad bunny” sculpture in the form of a 3.4-metre tall, mixed media installation with graffiti elements.

SYLVIE FLEURY, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Blush Palette, 2019, acrylic on canvas on wood, 154.5 × 192 × 10 cm. Courtesy the artist and Almine Rech, Brussels / Paris / London / New York / Shanghai.

Almine Rech

Apr 17–Jun 6

To welcome in the season and a new beginning, “Spring” is an extensive paintings show featuring 11 artists of diverse backgrounds including Sylvie Fleury, Todd Bienvenu, Xu Qu, and Li Qing, among others. Collectively, the works represent two distinct sections—one of expressive abstract works, and another of self-reflecting figurative creations. Newer works include Xu’s Euro 200 (2020) which challenges the correlation of currency and power, Fleury’s Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Blush Palette (2019) which questions how cosmetics mirror desire, and Bienvenu’s In Door d’or (2019) which utilizes mixed media to explore notions of history and identity.

Installation view of

ShanghART Shanghai

Apr 12–Jun 12

This vast group exhibition of 38 artists borrows its name from the French verb cacher (to hide), which has evolved into a computing term referring to the temporary storage of data that speeds future access. For this show, “cache” alludes to survival strategies stemming from a need to search for the best solution in complicated conditions, such as the current pandemic. The 60 selected artworks by artists such as Birdhead, Ding Yi, Sun Xun, Xu Zhen, and Zhang Enli, among others, are arranged alphabetically according to the artists’ names, allowing viewers to access these works via a database like set-up.

Installation view of AAAJIAO


May 2–Jun 21

Shanghai and Berlin based artist aaajiao, whose media art is rooted in virtual dimensions and theoretically informed by free thinking, internet controversies, and novel phenomena, presents new works from the last three years in “Cave Simulator.” The exhibition is comprised of installations that draw on observations of people’s experiences acting both as a player and a simulator in everyday life, speaking to a mode of existence through works such as icongif (2019), a series of pixelated mobile phone generated images that convey emotions with limited visuals, and gumdrop (2020), an installation that creates a disorienting perspective of intersecting worlds.

CAI ZEBIN, Revisit, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 215 × 215 cm. Courtesy Capsule Shanghai.

Capsule Shanghai

May 12–Jul 11

Inspired by Victor Brauner’s surrealist painting The Encounter of 2 bis rue Perrel (1946), itself paying tribute to the post-impressionist painter Henri Rousseau, this exhibition of recent works by Cai reveals the inspirations behind his practice and ideologies. One highlight is Revisit (2019), featuring three figures donning black latex wetsuits with their mouths wide open on a banquet stage, referencing the classic Three Graces motif. In addition to paintings, small drawings depicting Cai’s creative process are also on display.


West Bund Museum

Nov 8, 2019–May 9, 2021

Curated by Marcella Lista, “The Shape of Time” is part one of three planned thematic collaborations between Paris’s Centre Pompidou and the recently opened West Bund Museum. The major exhibition with artworks on loan from Centre Pompidou showcases the development of modern art during the first half of the 20th century, and its subsequent transformation from modernity to postmodernity in the second half. Artists featured include Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso, Daniel Buren, Wassily Kandinsky, as well as Chinese artists such as Cai Guo-Qiang and Zhang Huan, among others.

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