The Deeply Stimulating Exhibitions Occurring in China Now

Genuine, raw art has a particular ability to draw out our inner selves. It works both ways, for the artist producing the piece and, consequently, revealing himself, as well as for the consumer that gazes upon the piece, absorbing and internalizing it. For this very emotional aspect of ourselves that is brought to the surface when we interact with art, we find it incredibly rewarding to explore the art scene of the countries we visit. We relish in this opportunity to get to know ourselves better, but also to get a better understanding of the people and the culture of the land we have found ourselves in.


That being said, here are the most eye-catching art exhibits currently taking place in China that we couldn’t wait to share with you.

The Exhibits

The House Cannot Forget & The River Never Remembers

This two-part series by artist Chen Yujun takes place at the Arario Gallery and is the culmination of the artist’s musings on his hometown Fujian, a mountainous, coastal region in southeastern China. Broad themes run throughout the exhibit, including memory and the impermanence of life, leaving viewers contemplative and buzzing upon their departure.

Using video and paper, The House Cannot Forget explores the demolition and urbanization that has been occurring in Fujian this past decade, while examining the role of buildings in our collective remembrance.

As a follow-up, The River Never Remembers explores the symbolism of rivers. It also features pieces from the artist’s 2011 Mulan River project.

Garden Memories Revived

Parisian artist Clara Feder has come together with Le Jardin Retrouvé for her second stand-alone exhibition. Held at the Noeli Gallery, the exhibit encourages us to explore our senses of touch, sight, smell and sound, and the relationship these have with memory. Working with the French perfume house, Clara wishes to emphasize the particular power of our olfactory sense—the most archaic of all our senses. Through this show, she demonstrates the power of smell, how it can instantly transport us back in time to a memory we have affiliated in our subconscious with such an aroma.

Show-goers will experience the Noeli Gallery like they never have before—it’s been transformed from its usual, concrete state into an oasis, where wild plants and life have been arranged to mimic a garden, the perfect backdrop for a whimsical, wondrous, aromatic experience.

Women as Creators

Held at the Long Museum in Shanghai. This exhibition focuses on female artists, the challenges that women continue to face in society, and the joy that comes from being a creator. It features a group of five artists who exemplify the achievements that women have made in art and society at large.

Women as creators

These artists include:

Wang Wei

The founder of the Long Museum, and world-renowned art collector, as named by ARTnews magazine. Wei curated the first international women artists exhibition that took place in the fall of 2016. She works to draw attention to emotional burdens women bear, as well as the successes they’ve achieved in the art.

Frances Morris

The first female director of the Tate Modern, a prestigious title acquired in 2016. She’s credited with being the first director to leave her mark on the museum. Ever wondered why the Tate doesn’t display its pieces based on chronology? You can thank Morris’ creative, alternative way of thinking.

Lisa Yuskavage

Painter is known for her colorful approach to depicting female nudes—portraying them in utopian landscapes or dramatically lit interiors, and in a striking manner that leaves them appearing at once innocent and desirable

Jenny Saville

A member of the Young British Artists—a group known for their shocking, oppositional style—she’s known for her sensual, nude, oil paintings that explore the endless possibilities that come with portraying the human body

Shen Qilan

Art critic, curator, filmmaker, and TEDx speaker. She’s known for her platform “UnderstandAquiran,” which produces a film series and works with institutions on exhibitions and cultural projects

Xu Zhen Store

Xu Zhen is the political activist slash multimedia artist that’s known for his shocking, frequently-censored works, which incorporate a variety of themes like violence, starvation, and eroticism. His latest exhibit at Shanghai’s MadeIn Gallery is not really an exhibit at all, at least not in the traditional sense. True to his subversive nature, Xu Zhen has created an unconventional way of expressing his thoughts on art as a commodity: via a retail store.


Visitors of the store will find not only his limited edition sculptures and paintings on sale but also more mundane pieces, like furniture, clothing and home accessories. The idea is to continue to challenge us; to force us to see past what we think we know about what constitutes a “commodity”; to get us to question what can or cannot be owned, and what is or isn’t art.


China’s one of the most spiritual places on earth, so if there was ever a trip to get a little deep and explore some the concepts you’ll find in these exhibits, this is it! Take the plunge, and you might just come out a little more enlightened, or at the very least with fond memories of trying to get there.

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Cez Krol

Travel blogger at eTramping
Cez lives in China like a local for the past 4 years. Apart from speaking the language, he loves to discover more about this unique country of extreme contrasts. He shares his China experiences here at Sublime China and on his blog eTramping, so go and check out what's out there for you in China.
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