Art over Lunch: Drawing Shanghai's Old Town

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Event description
An Architects’ Conversation on Nostalgia, Urban Development, and the Act of Looking.

About this Event

Though Shanghai wasn’t one of the first cities to open in the 1990s, it soon became the ‘head of the dragon’ – manifesting itself in intense urban development. Its iconic skyline contrasts with Shangai’s Old Town, a district just across the river and the object of study of “Drawing Shanghai”, a small group that sketches its doors, stairways, and alleys.

Tõnis Kimmel, an Estonian architect and member of “Drawing Shanghai”, and Ying Zhou, assistant professor for architecture at the University of Hong Kong and originally from Shanghai, talk about how shifting places allows us to see certain things, what drawing teaches us about the act of looking, and why cultural heritage law not necessarily speaks of sentimentalities nor overweighs the optimism of growth.

This Art over Lunch is co-hosted with the Swiss-Chinese Chamber of Architects and Artists.

Program

12:00 – Start of Zoom webcast

12:30 – Q&A

12:45 – End of event

This event is for Asia Society Members only. How to become a member?

As the pandemic continues, we are starting to charge for some of the virtual programs this year. By purchasing a ticket you allow us to continue to work, thrive and offer you a diverse and relevant program. Thank you for understanding and for your continued support.

Picture: Courtesy of Tõnis Kimmel.

About the Speakers

Tõnis Kimmel is an architect and designer from Estonia, based in Shanghai since 2010. He graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts in 2002. For his participation in the Jewish Synagogue project in Tallinn he was awarded the Estonian Cultural Endowment prize. Now he works in a tiny architecture studio called Sinsi Design Studio in Shanghai. About himself, Tõnis says: "There has hardly been anything in my life that inspires me more than the way people have shaped our environment, especially our buildings. In my work in China, I usually deal with new buildings and the old ones are there only to be destroyed." He has been part of the group of drawing enthusiasts called Drawing Shanghai, that goes out to draw the city every weekend and organizes exhibitions to popularize their findings. Besides drawing, he says, the group has more and more started to stumble upon a different kind of Shanghainese beauty, especially that of the not so popular quarters of its historic downtown. From this exploration grew out the subseries that is called Vanishing Shanghai. To document these explorations, he started a specialized blog on toniski.LiveJournal.com.

Ying Zhou is architect and Associate Professor at the University of Hong Kong’s faculty of architecture since 2016. Prior, she had been teaching and researching at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) with the chair of Kees Christiaanse at the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) of the Singapore-ETH Centre (SEC), and with the chair of Herzog & de Meuron at ETH Studio Basel. Born in Shanghai, Ying holds a B.S.E. in Architecture and Engineering from Princeton, a M.Arch. from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard, a Ph.D. from the ETHZ, and was a Fulbright fellow at the University of Stuttgart. Her work has been exhibited at the Rotterdam Architecture Biennale, at the Shenzhen/Hong Kong Architecture Biennale, at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, amongst other places. She has published in Critical Planning, Monu, Urban China [城市中国], LEAP[艺术界], Art Journal, amongst many others. Her latest book is Urban Loopholes: Creative Alliances of Spatial Production in Shanghai’s City Center.

About Art Over Lunch

Art over Lunch is a monthly event series for members of Asia Society Switzerland. Each time, we visit an exhibition or a special part of a collection with artists, curators and experts for 45 minutes followed by a small lunch. The tours are designed to give members a different view on the vast troves at the museums and galleries in the city of Zurich and provide an opportunity to mingle and discuss. 

Art over Lunch is made possible with the support of Bergos Berenberg.

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