It is nothing new to find several artists have gathered in the suburbs of the city to showcase their work in a big studio. However the Guan Yuan Garden, in Caohang Village of Meilong Town, gives a new outlook to the word big.
Occupying an area of 12,000 square meters, the garden, now in the phase one stage, is about a 40-minute drive from the center of the city.
A roll of gray-bricked houses stretch in front of the entrance to welcome visitors. Surrounded by a line of contemporary sculptures, a small garden with a pavilion is situated at the end, while the height and space of one house is daunting.
Renowned local artists, such as Chen Jialing, Yue Zhenwen, Su Xiaosong and Chen Liang, have set up studios with Zhou Guowei, one of the country’s top mounting and framing artists, in Guan Yuan Garden.
“I have built a big kiln that fires my porcelain works,” Chen Liang said excitedly. “It is hard to imagine that such a big kiln could be allowed in any of the downtown area. Because of the daunting space here, I am able to create porcelain works in my studio and showcase them to the public in my exhibition hall. I even have a spare space to receive my guests and friends with a cup of tea.”
Guan Yuan Garden is also composed of three exhibition halls, among which is a permanent space for the Shanghai Young Art Fair, which drew to a close last week. The five-day event, running in its fifth year, presented more than 1,500 works created by around 400 promising artists at the ShanghaiMart in Changning District.
Perhaps that’s why “Making a Search for Jiangnan,” an exhibition previously displayed in the Suzhou Art Museum in September, chose Guan Yuan Garden as its second exhibition venue.
Featuring Shanghai artist Lu Chuntao and Yue Zhenwen, the exhibition “Making a Search for Jiangnan” was well-received at the Suzhou Art Museum.
“When I stepped into Guan Yuan Garden, I was immediately drawn by the relaxed and artistic atmosphere,” Yue Zhenwen said. “So I decided to prolong our exhibition. Different from some other cultural creative gardens in Shanghai, creation and exhibition are perfectly lined together here.”
Likewise, veteran artist Wang Jiafang also created a huge painting titled “Shanghai” in Guan Yuan Garden.
Wang spent nearly 40 days standing on a scaffold to implement the huge piece that stands at 7.5 meters in length and 5.5 meters in width. Although the original work is now permanently on show at the Xijiao State Guest Hotel Shanghai for diplomatic meetings, a copy of the work is now on show at Guan Yuan Garden.
Apart from artists’ studio and exhibition space, Guan Yuan Garden also focuses on the development of art derivatives, framing and an exhibition putting-up service.
Phase two of Guan Yuan Garden will occupy an area of 10,000 square meters, with an aim to build the biggest cultural creative garden in the southwestern part of Shanghai.
“More and more art lovers will learn the name of Guan Yuan Garden in the near future, and I am waiting to meet them,” said Chen Liang with a smile, “Actually my solo-exhibition will be unveiled at the end of this month.”