Despite its disturbing name, the slaughterhouse of Shanghai is not to be missed. The former slaughterhouse is a fashionable creative hub in the Hongkou District, with bars, galleries and trendy shops which are on par with the best of Paris and New York. It’s hard to imagine that it was once one of the largest slaughterhouses in East Asia, the only one of its kind still standing today. The slaughterhouse, designed by British master architect Balfours and named 1933 Old Millfun, is an industrial archeological masterpiece - an intricate structure forged out of cement imported from the United Kingdom in the Art Déco style, enriched with magnificent details, numerous reticular windows and circular motifs, combinations of both Western and Oriental styles. It is a sort of maze, reminiscent of Escher, where its central circular structure is linked to the four surrounding buildings by a series of bridges, galleries, narrow spiral stairways and spiral ramps. Over 300 columns in an eclectic Chinese-Gothic style hold up the roof and four verandas. It is a paradise for photographers from around the world.
Han Mengyun challenges the Aristotelian hierarchy of knowledge, ritual and aesthetics, highlighting the importance of rethinking the conceptual boundaries between the known, the to be learned and the unknowable in the emerging world dominated by the post-Western era.
At the center of the exhibition is the sculpture Lovers (2016), which is a work composed of two openings that create a play of internal and external surfaces, light and shadow. The artist encourages visitors to freely enter and inhabit the space in and around the work.
Cosmos Cinema is the exciting theme that gives the title to the new edition of the Shanghai Biennial, a key event with contemporary art in South-East Asia. In the spotlight, the artists' gaze on the intricate interaction between the celestial realm and human existence.