Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Artist in Residence: Ross Sinclair /// CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland, Phase Three /// Shanghai Himalayas Museum 

Ross Sinclair is currently in residence at Shanghai Himalayas Museum as part of CURRENT: Contemporary Art from Scotland, Phase Three. His solo exhibition Real Life Is Dead/Long Live Real Life will open on 22 September 2017, alongside I Want My Crown by Bruce McLean.

"I’ve been in Shanghai for about a week now, just about starting to acclimatise. Mind you I think you could live here for a decade and never quite get used to the incredible contrasts of life in a city of 26 million people, all living, working and going about their business, from dawn to dusk, every day. If anything it seems even busier than I remember from out first visit for the CURRENT project more than three years ago.

When I arrived there was the usual whirlwind of meetings to discuss the production of works for the exhibition, timetables and the residency which I have been busy working on over this last week and will continue next week and into the week of installation.

For the residency I proposed something called The Chinese-Scottish Real Life Orchestra where the Museum made an open call for people to come and participate in a project where we would rehearse songs I have prepared for the project and learn to play them together, with whatever instruments folk turned up singing in a mixture of Chinese and Scottish.

We will develop this over the next couple of weeks and make a performance at the opening of the exhibition. We had the first meeting on Saturday. It was fantastic. Mainly young people, some guitars, some traditional flute like instruments and singers, all keen to participate and find out about the project. We were together all afternoon and got a structure together for the event and sent videos round afterwards on We Chat, which is the Chinese messaging app that absolutely everyone uses here.

I’ve been working pretty solidly in the studio space they have for me here and can access the Museum anytime, which is handy. I am being helped with everything by Li Lei from the Exhibitions Department, who translates and fields my many, many requests and queries to the wider staff. All the staff are extremely engaged and are supporting the residency from their different departments.

A couple of days ago I went to a banner factory in Shanghai’s industrial area to select dome materials and styles for some banner I’m having made for the show. accompanied by Mr Wang, head technician who has endless patience for my endless questions. This was pretty exciting for me, as the scale of everything was immense and possibilities endless, if not budgets!

As I type this I can hear the unmistakeable sounds of the current exhibition being dismantled, 5m walls crashing to the ground all around, though here in Shanghai they have a couple of people in the Gallery with big carts, taking away all the material to be recycled and re-used which seems much better than the skipfuls of land-fill I’m used to seeing at the end of exhibition change overs."

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