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Shanghai artists bring China dreams to Liverpool waterfront

Ten artists from Liverpool’s twin city Shanghai are showcasing their work in prime waterfront locations to coincide with the Liverpool Biennial.

This is Shanghai, part of the China Dream season for #Liverpool2018, will go on show in the basement of the Cunard Building and other venues along the River Mersey from this Saturday, running until September 7.

The free exhibition has been produced by Culture Liverpool, in partnership with Open Eye Gallery, and along with the Cunard Building work will be on show in Mann Island, Tate Exchange, the Museum of Liverpool and on the Pier Head.

Among the art on display is Xu Zhen’s Optimising, in which a miniature Stonehenge comes to Mann Island’s atrium, outside Open Eye Gallery. Martial arts experts will perform on top of the stones, bringing together two traditions of ritual separated by thousands of miles.

Liverpool 2018 by Liang Yue features a series of beautifully shot photographs which highlight the similarities between Liverpool’s waterfront and Shanghai’s Bund, and how the River Mersey and the Huangpu River make Chinese visitors feel like Liverpool is a home from home.

And in Time Differences by Yuan Gong, a tower of beautifully-decorated biscuit tins will be crushed every hour, representing the tune, East is Red, which is played from the clock tower on the Bund’s Custom House.

Shanghai's Bund was inspired by the Liverpool waterfront

Meanwhile people can also enjoy an interactive experience with Yu Ji’s Sharing The Loss.

Hire a special bike from the This is Shanghai gallery in the Cunard building’s basement, pop on the headphones provided, hit play on an MP3, and cycle along Liverpool’s World Heritage waterfront while listening to the sounds of the Bund. The soundscape will be accompanied by a story, in English, about Yu Ji’s home city and how it compares to Liverpool.

And in addition to the work on display, 2,018 lucky residents chosen at random will receive a limited edition piece of art by Lu Pingyuan, enclosed in vintage-looking envelopes and delivered by postmen dressed in 1930s uniform.

This is Shanghai Curator Jiang Jihong said: “I first left my hometown of Shanghai for Britain 20 years ago and his had changed dramatically since I left – numerous skyscrapers have risen, narrow alleyways have vanished, eight-lane highways have appeared and elevated roads have created a new version of urban sky.

“Despite my regular visits back, it’s no longer mine. Liverpool arouses my memories and experiences of Shanghai, especially its waterfront. The shared characteristics between the two is reassuring.

“This is a contemporary exhibition which uses both Shanghai and Liverpool as inspiration, and some amazing pieces of art have been produced in response to these iconic locations.”

This is Shanghai is part of the China Dream season of exhibitions, performances and events which aim to shine a light on modern Chinese culture and explore the relationship between China and the UK.

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