Graffiti exhibition in Suzhou
There are not many graffiti in China. I have only seen them in the 798 art zone in Beijing and around Moganshan street, which is also an art space, in Shanghai. In Europe it is fairly common to see colourful walls more or less well done, or shitty tags painted by wannabe kids, but in China the closest thing you can get is the old political slogans painted in big characters on the street or the advertisements painted on walls in the countryside.
So I was quite surprised when I heard there was going to be a graffiti exhibition in Suzhou. The opening ceremony was on Saturday and there we went to have a look! It was a parallel exhibition of the Jinji Lake Biennale, which I had never heard about either! Do I live in a bubble or what? Coincidentally, three of the graffiti artists were from Spain! The exhibition was done in some sort of “creative park”, which is a place with shops, exhibition halls and what looked like factories. The graffiti artists painted several big pieces on the building walls and I was amused to see a group of old ladies examining the paintings very carefully. In Spain, middle aged and old people normally hate graffiti as they basically think it’s just vandalism and making the streets dirtier.
There were also a few artworks from the three Spanish artists in a small exhibition hall. It somehow feels more serious when they are hanging from the walls like classic art in a museum! There was also a projection of one of the graffiti artists painting a wall in the old town in Suzhou. Suddenly, an old lady who must have been living in the area appeared and got closer. “She’s going to scold the guy”, guessed C. But no, she just kept staring at him, probably thinking “What on Earth is this foreigner doing?”. I guess Chinese older people don’t have the concept of graffiti=making the streets dirty, simply because they are not used to seeing them. And when they do, it’s mostly government-sanctioned slogans!
There was also a brief introduction of the organisers and the artists, a DJ and a band. There was quite a lot of people and many children who enjoyed the free snacks and soft drinks .