Having been kicked out of Weihai 696 after more than three years at the address, stageBACK Gallery has bounced back quickly, forming a partnership with Eastlink, one of the earliest galleries to set up in M50. stageBACK’s M50 debut includes work by two artists who also left Weihai Lu when their leases were not renewed: local favourite Maleonn, who has since moved to Songjiang, and British artist Chris Gill.
Maleonn has chosen to reinvent himself since the move, taking a break from staged photography to focus on pencil drawings, while still retaining his flair for the surreal and attention to detail.
Meanwhile, Gill presents his first large-scale installation, entitled ‘The Corridor at the End of Time’ (pictured above), which leads viewers down a shrinking tunnel to enter the main exhibition area (you’ll have to crouch at the end). His impressive mixed media work ‘Asian City’, mounted at the other end of the corridor, is a 10m cityscape painted on cloth and embedded with scraps of magazines, photos and namecards found as he was packing up his studio.
The remaining artists build on the Lost and Found theme. Paris-based performance artist Laurent Friquet introduces a headless character who tries and fails to hang himself. Beijing artist Tang Xiaowen, who’s still in school and specialises in ink on silk works, reinterprets old family photos by painting them in negative.
The final work is a collaboration between locally-based American painter Kathryn Gohmert and Spanish filmmaker Xepo WS (now one of the Swatch Peace Hotel’s artists in residence), featuring videos of Gohmert painting on glass in front of various Shanghai landmarks (Jingan Temple, The Bund, Yanan highway etc), as well as the priceless reactions of neighbourhood bystanders. The final videos are presented on an installation of old TVs amid piles of rubble, and cranked up with a chaotic soundtrack of city noises and loud bursts of static. stageBACK lost a gallery but with this show they’ve quickly found their feet.
See the Lost and Found event details here