There’s a thriving artists’ quarter on the banks of the Suzhou
Creek, and the place to see it is No. 50 Monganshan Road, known as Shanghai M50 Art Community. Once an old textile mill, the complex now houses galleries,
studios, art spaces, and some cafes and restaurants, and this is
where you’ll find the best of Shanghai’s contemporary artists as
well as emerging talent.
It’s an exciting place to wander. The mill closed in 1999,
and the alleys and buildings clearly reflect their industrial
past. In 2000 local contemporary artist Xue Song was
attracted by the possibilities of the area, and low rental.
He moved in, and soon other artists, such as Ding Yi, Qu Fengguo,
Wang Xingwei set up studios here too. Which is very fortunate
for the rest of us, otherwise it may have been demolished, and this
wonderful area which both nurtures new talent and showcases
established artists, may never have existed.
Before long galleries such as the ShanghArt Gallery, Eastlink
Gallery and ArtScene rented space here, where they display some of
the most exciting modern art from M50, Shanghai and China. The
galleries are able to foster the connection between their artists
and international buyers, and have successfully launched a number
of now-famous local artists.
Today graphic designers, architectural workshops and
environmental art design companies also rent space, but the real
buzz and energy of the place comes from the juxtaposition of
well-known artists and aspiring talent. It really is very
exciting to wander through the sometimes chaotic area, in and out
of working studios and display spaces, both large and small, and to
see the work that is being produced here.
There are about 100 artists in residence, and with such a range you
can take something home from a few dollars up to megabucks for the
work of the internationally famous. The range of media is
equally varied, and includes paint of every description, sculpture
using a wide variety of materials, photography, textiles and
This is a fun place to visit, and offers an interesting contrast
from the more traditional aspects of China that visitors often
concentrate on. And the best of the work being produced here
is absolutely stunning.