Shen's art attack

By Mu Qian (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-06-13 09:08

Works shown during the Shanghai Art Expo in November 2007, give a glimpse of the city's art scene.

"Although it's impossible for everybody to appreciate contemporary art, in our capacity of platform for contemporary art we should never turn away common people. We present art works beyond the walls of the museum in order to develop the relationship between contemporary art and the common people of China."

Even though Shen was mentally prepared for misunderstandings before the project started, his endeavor nevertheless produced unexpected results.

An March event of the "Intrude: Art & Life 366" project involved a series of sculptures by artist Liu Jin entitled Injured Angels.

Sculptures of life-size angels in Jin's image were suspended from high-rises in Shanghai. Arranged in the attitude of clinging on for dear life, the sculptures naturally appeared vulnerable, helpless and likely to fall. The artist explains, "During the current process of urban development, high-rises keep popping up, posing significant changes to our living environment. Faced with such a reality full of uncertainties, don't we also seem similarly tiny, fragile and helpless?"

Put that way, the project seems both project logical and emotive.

But the "angels" caused panic among Shanghai citizenry. One senior citizen had a heart attack when she saw a sculpture dangling precariously from a tower block. Many mistook the "angels," hanging by their fingertips at dizzy altitudes for people attempting suicide.

After receiving several complaints, the Shanghai Municipal Law-Enforcement Bureau of City Comprehensive Administration ordered that the sculptures be removed.

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