M50

Red Baby

I am temporarily based in the M50 art complex in northern Shanghai. It’s cited as the thriving artist quarter of Shanghai, with over 80 artists’ studios, galleries, both big and small, chinese and international, and other design-related businesses. It’s a strange place, an old textile mill, with all sorts of spaces. Supposedly it’s where the western collectors come to pick up the en-vogue chinese art, but it seems to be 95 per cent tourists wandering around, and not a huge amount of them either. It’s very difficult to figure out how anyone is making any money.

Certainly as a european artist here, it would seem I’d be having to change my name to something a bit more oriental to make any sales, or indeed, any interest. At least I have a slightly chinese look going on, but the McArthur name is doing me no favours.

Red laquered babies doing strange things are HUGE here, and as you wander through huge, laquered sweetcorn phalluses, you really start to wonder what the hell is going on! The line between high-end work and mass-produced tourist art is extremely blurred. However, I have made it my mission to get to the bottom of it, and with some more time, hopefully my investigative journalism will bear fruits. One thing is sure, like so often in life, all at M50 is not quite what it seems…