The best art exhibitions in Shanghai right now

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

Photograph: courtesy Power Station of Art (M/Made in Shanghai)
So many exhibitions, so little time? Shortcut it straight to the good stuff. From a massive three-day art festival at Tank Shanghai to a sprawling retrospective from illustrious creative studio M/M Paris at the Power Station of Art to an interactive public sculpture exhibition as part of an afternoon stroll through Jingan Sculpture Park, here are the best art shows to catch this season.

Note: All art museums require a green Shanghai Health code to enter and a few galleries are appointment only, so we recommend checking hours/entry requirements before planning your visit.

Through the Looking Glass, and What We Found There

Art+ Gallery presents the second part of One Hundred Days of Solitude, a group show featuring the recent works of seven resident artists that set out to reflect on the ‘brave new world humanity is entering’. Highlights include Ye Hongxing’s Isolation Series, reflecting on the narrative of confinement and closed borders, and a painting created by art collective Tamen after the group was reunited post-lockdown that calls for leaders, thinkers and celebrities to embark on the same journey together.

Other standouts are Sha Shuang's commentary on women’s social roles via digital drawing lightboxes and Tang Zhengwei’s intricate paper cutting exploring achieving total freedom.

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Art+ Shanghai Gallery , 191 Nan Suzhou Lu Every day except Monday

André Butzer: Light, Colour and Hope

See the trademark characters and colour bursts of German painter André Butzer at his first institutional solo exhibition in China at the Yuz Museum. The exhibit showcases a dozen abstract paintings spanning the artist’s 25-year career including the latest creations from NASAHEIM – Butzer’s fictional utopian universe – and shows the evolution of his work that fuses his German heritage with the increasing presence of American culture.

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Yuz Museum , 35 Fenggu Lu 26 Sep - 10 Jan

M/Made in Shanghai

Illustrious creative studio M/M Paris takes over the seventh floor of the Power Station of Art for a retrospective of its works spanning three decades. Described as ‘a theme park of an imaginary world produced in reality’, the exhibition displays hundreds of works (including out-of-scale reprints) and invites viewers to explore it in any order. Established in 1992 by design-world heavyweights Mathias Augustyniak and Michael Amzalag, M/M Paris is known for its collaborations with musicians, fashion designers and contemporary artists and the team’s works have been widely exhibited in Paris and New York.

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Power Station of Art , 200 Huayuangang Lu Every day except Monday

Bright Lights, Flashy Lifestyles

Shanghai-based art collective island6 (Liu Dao) have put together a new exhibition showcasing their latest works that follow their iconic style (LED artworks, interactive installations, etc) only brighter and flashier. This time, the show takes you to the corners of Shanghai – from the traffic lights of Suzhou Nan Lu to a brightly lit aisle inside Japan’s Tamade supermarket – as it seeks to explore the lure and symbolism of bright lights in contemporary China. Whether it's a celebration of modern convenience or a critique of omnipresent consumerism, take home whatever message you feel.

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Island6 , 50 Moganshan Lu 25 Sep - 25 Nov

Matthew Ronay Sending and Receiving

Perrotin Gallery presents a solo exhibition of New York-based artist Matthew Ronay featuring eight of his latest sculptures. Starting with subconscious drawings, the organ- and sea creature-like sculptures are hand-carved from basswood and dyed with a phosphorescent palette to represent the interaction and confrontation between different entities. In Ronay’s own words, these works ‘embody forms in diametric opposition: meetings, clashes and forgatherings.’

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Perrotin Gallery , 27 Huqiu Lu 11 Sep - 31 Oct

Impression Sunrise by Claude Monet

Claude Monet's 'Impression, Sunrise' painting has made its way to Shanghai for the first time, together with a collection of his other masterpieces including 'Charing Cross Bridge', 'The Sailing Boat, Evening Effect', 'Camille on the Beach in Trouville' and more – all on loan from Paris’ Musée Marmottan Monet.

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Bund One Art Museum , No. 1 Zhongshan East 1st Road Huangpu Shanghai Shanghai 30 Nov Buy tickets

Between Mountains, Hills and Lakes

Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Sino-Swiss relations, this exhibition at Modern Art Base showcases nine photography projects from seven Swiss photographers (Thomas Brasey, Olga Cafiero and Stephane Winter, to name a few) and two Chinese photographers (Zhu Lanqing and Chen Haishu) who have completed residencies in Switzerland in recent years. Much more than photos of postcard-perfect landscapes, the show takes a deeper look at Switzerland’s unique culture and aims to show the diversity and complexities of the country and its art. In addition to the exhibition, there are some recently published Swiss photography books to browse and several online and offline symposiums to attend (click here for more info).

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Modern Art Base , Jianguo Zhong Lu Every day except Monday

Towards a Neo-Constructivism

Constructivism was a particular branch of modern abstract art that flourished in Russia in the 20th century just as the Bolsheviks came to power. The group believed that artists are like engineers and art should make people aware of the inequality and class divisions rather than serving bourgeoise aesthetics. This new exhibition at BANK gathers nearly 30 works by artists who are following Constructivist traditions while creating an artistic wave that could be potentially defined as 'Neo-Constructivism'.

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BANK Gallery , Lane 298 Anfu Lu Every day

Space Discipline

A show for people with an interest in housing and architecture, OCAT’s latest asks 12 young architects from across the country to recreate an element from their childhood home alongside an element from one of their architectural designs after they completed training. The result is a variety of styles spanning the periods of opening-up to post-Shanghai World Expo that reflect upon the climate and culture of several Chinese cities and provinces.

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OCAT , Lane 9, Qufu Lu Every day except Monday

Shanghai Jingan International Sculpture Project

The biannual International Sculpture Project is open at Jingan Sculpture Park through autumn and winter, alongside a few works at Wujiang Lu, Fengsheng Li, Shanghai Plaza 66 and more. This year, the project exhibits 55 sculptures by 29 artists from China and abroad under the theme 'Reshaping Space'.

The park is open from 5am to 10pm (through the end of October, and 6am to 9pm in November and December) – go along around dusk for a few pieces best seen as the light shifts from day to night.

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Jingan Sculpture Park , 128 Shimen Er Lu 26 Sep - 31 Dec

Fire Dream

Research and exhibition space Harvard CAMLab presents a multi-channel film installation that combines traditional sculpture, ceramics, photography and digital printing. Inspired by contemporary artist Zhao Meng’s untraditional ceramic making process (mixing straw and paper fibre with clay before firing), the exhibition shows not only the process of making ceramics, but also a computer-generated painting on paper inspired by the process.

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Urbancross Gallery , 1848 Huaihai Zhong Lu 18 Sep - 01 Nov

Zhang Ding: Con Trol Club

Art label Con Trol Club presents a unique exhibition at Fosun Foundation, mixing immersive large-scale art installations and live performances. Created by Zhang Ding in 2014, Con Trol Club 'integrates artists in various fields, geeks and musicians and presents gatherings and parties that explore the dialectics of control/anti-control’. Participating musicians and bands include Wang Fan, Omnipotent Youth Society, Kubert Leung, Noise Temple, WaChi, Zhang Lin and Lao Dan. Click here for more info or to buy tickets.

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Fosun Foundation Shanghai , 600 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu 05 Sep , 06 Sep - 01 Nov Buy tickets

Shanghai Waves: Historical Archives and Works of Shanghai Biennale

Before the 13th Shanghai Biennale (Bodies of Water) takes place this November, Power Station of Art presents a collection of archived works from previous editions between 1996 and 2018, accompanied by artists’ personal writings, photos and memorabilia documenting the high-profile event. Expect works from big names such as Chen Shaoxiong, Ding Yi, Huang Yongping, Liu Wei, Xuzhen, Zhang Enli, Zhang Peili and Yan Peiming.

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Power Station of Art , 200 Huayuangang Lu 31 Jul - 15 Nov Free

The Space Between Us

Plan a road trip, meet strangers and photograph them in their element – you’ve got the gist of Alec Soth’s photography. Hailed as ‘one of the greatest living photographers of America’s social and geographical landscape’ by Telegraph journalist Mick Brown, Soth observes the everyday through his large-format camera and intimate works. This is Soth’s first solo exhibition in China, presenting over 40 representative works throughout his career. Read our interview with Soth. 

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

Interrupted Meals

What illustrates the relationship between humanity and nature better than the food humans forage and eat? The first exhibition after HOW Art Museum’s re-opening due to the pandemic features 13 artists from home and abroad under the wide-ranging theme of ‘food’.

Most noticeable works include a video project by Xu Tan addressing East Asia’s changing discourse on nature from the influence of Western rationalism, a recreation by artist Zheng Bo of an illustration book originally published during the famine of the 1960s and a futuristic video by artist duo Dunne & Raby that imagines new ways of foraging and digesting for mankind in the future.

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HOW Art Museum , Lane 2277 Zuchongzhi Road 08 Aug - 31 Oct Buy tickets

The Shadow is My Lover the Heart is Enemy

Alter Gallery presents a series of photographic works by Chinese photographer Maleonn. Inspired by Andrei Tarkovsky’s book Sculpting in Time, the artist captured his imagination using projection and paper cuttings reminiscent of traditional shadow puppetry. Born in Shanghai in 1972, Maleonn rejects photography as a reflection of reality, instead creating dreamy and surreal stage works that often ‘reference childhood memory, lost hopes and dreams and the symbolism of traditional Chinese arts’. 

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Alter Gallery , 291 Hunan Lu Every day

MoCA Animamix Biennial: SNOOPY 70TH ANNIVERSARY

Take a trip down memory lane at the Snoopy 70th Anniversary exhibit. Part of the seventh Animamix Biennial and a celebration of the late cartoonist Charles Schulz’s iconic comic, Peanuts, the ‘cross-border art’ show features a collection of classic Snoopy images alongside ‘a new chapter full of Chinese characteristics’.

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MoCA Shanghai , 231 West Nanjing Road Huangpu Shanghai Shanghai 04 Jan Buy tickets

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