7 unmissable exhibitions in Shanghai this spring

We've got you covered with our select list of brilliant shows to see this season

Photograph: courtesy Shi Guowei and Shanghai Center of Photography
As nature gets going in spring, so does the art world in Shanghai. Before the much-anticipated Shanghai Biennale and inaugural exhibitions at UCCA Edge hit the city in April and May, there's still lots to see. From an impressive multimedia installation recreating the Mulan River to an interactive exploration of video art from all over East Asia, here are our must-see exhibitions this season.

The Drawn Out Moment: Shi Guowei Solo Exhibition

The first SCoP exhibition of 2021 presents a solo retrospective of Beijing-based artist Shi Guowei, featuring a collection of photo-paintings he's made since 2006. Each photo-painting involves a lengthy process – taking several months to complete – in which Shi takes a large-format photograph in black-and-white and colours it manually from memory (what he calls ‘emotional colour’).

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Shanghai Center of Photography , 2555 Longteng Dadao Every day except Monday

Sheng Zhang – Solo Exhibition of Chen Yujun

Fujian-born artist Chen Yujun has recreated a little piece of his home province inside the Long Museum West Bund with this impressive multimedia installation featuring a 22-metre-long stretch of Fujian’s Mulan River – a place that carries a lot of physical and symbolic meaning for him. Chen urges viewers to follow the river, which is suspended from the ceiling, and down his sensory memory lane where you'll find mural-sized collages made from photographs, prints, newspapers and ink paintings on paper.

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Long Museum West Bund , 3398 Longteng Avenue Every day except Monday

Morning Market: Chen Fei Solo Exhibition

A basket bursting with beautiful fruit wrapped in plastic, a table rammed with animal skeletons… This is some of what you'll see at Chen Fei’s first Shanghai solo exhibition opening at YUZ Project Space of Art (inside YUZ Museum) this Saturday. The small showcase presents a couple of still life paintings Chen has been working on since 2017. Born in Shanxi in 1983, Chen is known for his amine-influenced surrealistic narrative paintings with a touch of dark humour and social commentary. This exhibition diverges from his usual style, which might be the result of his ongoing concern about China's economic growth and its cultural impact on a global scale.

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Yuz Museum , 35 Fenggu Lu Every day except Monday

China Cabinet: A Project by Theaster Gates

Prada is bringing another solo exhibition to Rong Zhai. This time, the mansion will house Chicago-based potter, ceramist, urban planner, visual artist and professor (among other titles) Theaster Gates. Showing a body of ceramic works in three chapters, visitors will be able to dive into his creative process, understand elements he frequently uses in his practice and identify symbolism that is usually associated with civil rights activism and African-American identity.

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Prada Rong Zhai , No. 186 Shaanxi Bei Lu Every day except Monday

We=Link: Sideways

The second part of CAC’s We=Link program (inaugurated in February 2020 in response to the outbreak of the COVID-19) shows 22 ‘net art’ works made by 28 artists and collectives over the past three decades. From the first artist-run Bulletin Board System in 1991 to the current production, the exhibition features a collection of artefacts of early Chinese Internet culture from the late 1990s and early 2000s. It takes a deep dive into this avant-garde art form that continues to flourish and evolve with the development of the Internet. 

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Chronus Art Center , 50 Moganshan Lu Every day except Monday,Tuesday

Refocusing on the Medium: the Rise of East Asia Video Art

Since 1965 when the first SONY Portapak became available in Japan, artists across the globe have experimented within the medium of video. This exhibition at OCAT Shanghai examines the development of East Asian video art and explores the contributions that artists have made to its global history. Expect to see iconic works including Nam June Paik’s video installation 'TV Buddha' (1974-2002) and Katsuhiro Yamaguchi’s interactive CCTV installation 'Las Meninas' (1974-1975) as well as newer works like Wang Gongxin's 'Two Square Meter Space' (1995-2020). Our advice: bring friend as some of the works are interactive and playful. 

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OCAT , Lane 9, Qufu Lu Every day except Monday

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The best burgers in Shanghai

From classic cheeseburgers to creative plays and the gourmet restaurant offerings, here's where to sink your teeth into the city's beefiest burgers

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By: Rupert Hohwieler