“Does Nanjing have any decent night life, other than bars and clubs?”, is an oft-asked question. Thankfully, discerning Nanjingers have a new choice for a late night hang-out; the “24 hours Art Gallery” located in the city’s western Hexi area.
Sponsored by Jianye district, and established late last year, the 24-hour Art Gallery has been upgraded from being merely the Nanjing International Youth Culture Plaza, with the addition of eight glass “boxes”. Reignited four years later after the Youth Olympic Games, the forgotten urban public art space now comprises installation art, behavioural art, scientific and technological dialogue, audio-visual and other contemporary art forms.
According to Jinling Newspaper, the project’s chief curator, Lin Shuchuan, said, “It allows the public to enter the square at any time to see the exhibition”, so that all nighters in a metropolis such as Nanjing may take in an art tour at night, perhaps with the concept of spending an hour enjoying the beauty of art while running their busy 24-hour city life.
Through the glass windows, different “boxes” are decorated by artists with their ingenious installation art, presenting an artistic connotation of different themes, bringing together surprises, such as a rainbow made out of 4,000 brooms, or a work of art exploring primitive relationships between people, from the perspective of monkeys.
Elsewhere, as a brand new experience of the collision between trend and art, in the “AI Box”, 999 endearments that citizens want to present to Nanjing are translated into many languages and immediately reflected on to the curtain wall of the “box”.
The 24-hour Museum of Art will update the theme of the exhibition every month or two. The director of the Propaganda Department of Jianye District Committee has intimated that the original intention of making glass “box” into “24-hour art gallery” was to let art intervene in urban life and make an atmosphere of contemporary art permeate the streets and lanes of Hexi and Jianye.
Through holding art exhibitions, forums and fairs, the charm of contemporary art can be displayed in an all-round and three-dimensional way, in turn activating urban public space to foster a new life style of citizens. Might the 24-hour Art Gallery become a weather vane for young people’s artistic creation?