Established in 2013 and based in the old town neighbourhood of Huang Pu in central Shanghai, Rén Space focuses on innovative works by Chinese contemporary artists. Founder Jung Lee established the gallery around high-quality projects in an approach aimed at breaking down the norms and practices of the existing Chinese art eco-system.Read More
Occupying an elegant shikumen-style town house built over a century ago, Rén Space is distant from the Bund—the art-rich territory more familiar to the Chinese and international art scene. The way it operates is also distinct from the conventional gallery model; pursuing its stated mission of supporting ‘the initiation, funding, realisation, and promotion of innovative projects’, the gallery functions as an international platform for collaborations between artists, studios, and fabricators, as well as art institutions, collectors, and the public.
Working with artists ranging from Zhang Peili—the heralded father of video art in China—to young, emerging artists like Lu Yang, the gallery challenges the artists and provides the resources and space, to develop and expand their creative practice. Randian’s Thomas Eller has compared this approach to the ‘Renaissance “patron-artist” dynamic where a few very sophisticated art patrons challenged “their” artists to achieve utmost excellence in their art.’Rén Space introduces artists to new methods and materials through its collaborative programme. In 2015 the gallery’s group exhibition Off Canvas (Rén Space, Shanghai, 15 November–30 December 2015) led to a range of prominent visual artists such as Zhang Peili, Yu Youhan, Wang Xingwei, and Chuck Close producing tapestries reflecting their particular styles.
New avenues for unique art are created by collaborations coordinated by the gallery between its artists and various studios and workshops around the world; working in close collaboration with practitioners in Japan, Yu Youhan combined ancient paper-making techniques with advanced technology to create New Life; 1987 Mosaic (2017): five monumental paper mosaics paying homage to the lost ceramic mosaic work he made for the Shanghai Art and Design Academy. Ren Space also provided the inspiration and the resources to harness new 3D digital technology and 3D robotic carvings which were instrumental to Chen Yujun’s new venture into Sculptural works as well as Zhang Peili’s latest works in The Annual Report of OCD (Rén Space, Shanghai, 6 November 2019–6 May 2020).
Opening with an exhibition by Yu Youhan—one of the pioneering figures of the Political Pop Movement—Rén Space has collaborated with several influential Chinese artists. These include leading performance artist Li Binyuan and leading sculptor Zhan Wang. The gallery also works with emerging artist such as Chen Yujun and Lu Yang, giving their practice a broader footing.
For her 2014 solo exhibition at Rén Space titled Kimo Kawa Cancer Baby, Lu Yang created a range of colourful 3D-printed objects and animated videos that turned cancer cells into animated characters reflective of the vibrant anime-dominated popular culture of the modern internet era. Through the exhibition the artist, encouraged and emboldened by the gallery, drew upon various cutting-edge technological methods of production to send a message on a dark topic.
Expanding its reach beyond the Shanghai art scene, Rén Space has participated in several international art fairs including Art Central, Hong Kong; PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai; ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair; and Art16, London.
With Art021 and West Bund Art & Design taking place in November, we recommend 17 shows to see in Shanghai this winter.
With tens of millions in China confined to their homes, galleries and institutions have likewise pivoted to online events.
I'm very much a fan of the public institution. I think only the public institution can provide the long-term guarantee that it will continue to exist and it will be 'the' public memory.
In terms of Chinese video art, Zhang Peili is omnipresent: he’s celebrated as a pioneering practitioner, he teaches it as a professor at the China Academy of Art, and he’s instrumental in getting it shown as Director of OCAT Shanghai, the city’s leading art space for video. In September of this year, Zhang also curated a...
At 2:30 pm on July 2, 2016, Time Test – International Video Art Research Exhibition was unveiled at CAFA Art Museum. The exhibition is jointly hosted by Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan, U.S.A. and CAFA Art Museum. In the axis of the development course of the video art, the project presents...
Shanghai-based brothers duo take over gallery in Hong Kong with multimedia presentation morphing the personal and universal dimensions of time and space. On 28 April 2016, Tang Contemporary Art in Hong Kong opened White, a joint exhibition of Shanghai-based artist brothers Chen Yujun and Chen Yufan, as its May offering in a monthly rotating...
Upon the 30th anniversary of the much-revered ’85 New Wave movement, China is in the middle of a similar explosion of contemporary artistic activity. Dozens of exhibitions are happening all over the country, many outside the Beijing-Shanghai mega centres, at a level of enthusiasm and public participation hardly seen before. However, ’85...
The first large-scale exhibition in Hong Kong of works from the Sigg Collection of Chinese contemporary art, since its was acquired by the M+ museum in West Kowloon, will open early next year (23 February-5 April 2016). The show is organised by Pi Li, M+’s senior curator of Chinese art, who joined the museum in 2012, the same year the part...
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