When I took on the directorship at OV Gallery (www.ovgallery.org), the space was smartly-designed but seemed to show a somewhat random collection of artists. I envisioned the space as more of a curatorial laboratory and used a series of thematic exhibitions to not only present challenging ideas but also to showcase new and diverse talent.
Our first exhibition “Make-Over” 外立面工程 tackled the issue of city and nation branding in the context of the sweeping urban regeneration/gentrification of Shanghai which took place prior to the 2010 Expo. (For an in-depth look at Better City Better life which references the exhibition see here and exhibition opening here.) The exhibition was praised for capturing the zeitgeist and the irony behind the city’s “Better City, Better Life” Expo slogan. OV did not back down from this critical stance despite much-unwanted attention from relevant authorities; we continued to push forward with exhibitions about gender “Shifting Definitions,” the writing and redacting of history “Re-visioning History” and “Learning from the Literati”想文人学习—which examined the historical and social implications of the literati tradition.
Though OV was a commercial space and attended a number of international art fairs, it took a much more critical and academic stance than most galleries at the time Shanghai. We produced extensive catalogs for each show containing artist statements and catalog essays. Even though OV is now closed, I personally maintain the website in the interest of maintaining the archive of these artists, both Chinese and international, to provide a small window into this specific time in their careers. For a selection of artist’s work see below, or visit www.ovgallery.org.