This is the home of the avant-garde in Shenzhen. Last time we went there, there was a ceremonial destruction by the artists of the works they had been exhibiting for the past two weeks. Performance art, get it? We once had a friend who described the rotting pumpkin in her kitchen as performance art.

The gallery opened in January 2005 and since then has been at the absolute frontline of art in Shenzhen. Perhaps strangely, the gallery is under the wing of the He Xiangning Gallery. From something so political to something so anarchic? Strange bedfellows, even if they do both promote modern art.

The gallery is situated in a disused factory building formerly belonging to TV manufacturer Konka, which owns the land around the area. The original factory has been screened in framed metal mesh to give an…. industrial feel. The original industrial site obviously wasn’t industrial enough. But it looks good. Inside is a single exhibition space of about 40,000 sq. m.

It’s not easy to find. If you are on a bus, get off at the Konka stop walk back to the display showroom, turn left into the road at the service station, Enping Rd and walk 200 yards to the T junction where you will find a guard post. The guard may well be able to direct you to the building but such practical details often don’t appeal to the avant-garde.

This area has become the most fashionable place for the arty crowd and those who aspire to artiness to gather. You’re in the middle of OCT, one of Shenzhen’s richest residential areas and the people you see sitting taking coffee reflect this. Senior High School students are a strong presence. Every day sees another old factory building converted into restaurants, coffee shops and private galleries. Rough brick paths have been laid and garden beds put in. The overwhelming impression is one of lushness. Around each corner is a new piece of street sculpture, and there are always new secret places hidden amongst the bamboo and under the banyan trees to just relax. We recommend that you spend some time here sipping coffee and soaking up the atmosphere and rubbing shoulders with Shenzhen’s art crowd. The galleries and bookshops repay an afternoon’s browsing handsomely. Shenzhen, as befits such a rich city, is rapidly becoming one of the focal points of modern art in China and here is one of the places to experience the feeling.

Address: Behind Konka, OCT

Website: http://www.ocat.org.cn/index.php/About?lang=en

Metro Station Qiao Cheng Dong, Exit A. Walk back 150 m to Enping Rd and follow the instructions above.


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