Monday, February 25, 2013

Retro Deco

Meetings at Hangzhou Cultural Bureau and Zhejiang Art Museum, and then, because of a cancellation, a stroll in glorious sunshine through Huanglong Dong Park, which is actually a hill overlooking West Lake. Although stroll’ was hardly the word – more a stiff hike to the top where an unusual 1930s-rebuilt pagoda looks out over the city. Nice to experience a park so unspoiled & undeveloped, with thick bamboo forests and few ‘amenities’. And all this in a city of 5m.

"Lovely" and "Chinese cities" aren't words I use too frequently in the same sentence, but it certainly applies to Hangzhou. With its enclosing hills and cultural vibe, it reminds me of Kyoto.
In the afternoon we drove via a long tunnel to the western suburbs to Inna Contemporary Art Space, a small artist-in-residency project with gallery. The current resident, a painter called Chen Dongfan, was producing some large graffiti-like works to the accompaniment of what turned out to be a recent Sakamoto album.
Another dinner for contacts in an art-deco styled restaurant. There seems to be a nostalgia for the days of the Republic – if not for its politics then at least its architecture, design and fashion.

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