M50

A quiet and somewhat gloomy Saturday afternoon – the perfect conditions to visit one of Shanghai’s famous contemporary art complexes.  M50 is in a run down (but still lively) area in the north of the inner city.  It even has a whole wall of graffiti art, an extremely rare thing to see in Shanghai.  I’m told that this strip is particularly subversive, but it is clearly also very subtle, but I couldn’t make anything of it really…

M50 is housed in a collection of old industrial buildings – warehouses and factories with great character, beautiful materials and many of their industrial features intact.  There are dozens of little galleries and spaces to explore, an excellent bookshop and (golden trifecta!) good coffee.

Like the buildings, many of the artworks were an overlaying of old and new.  Inspiration is drawn from both China’s military traditions and the cutesy graphics of modern animation – a combination that is often a little unsettling.

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