Wulumuqi Lu 乌鲁木齐路

Scotland_edited_edited.jpg

2017

45cms (W) x 37cms (H)

Oil on Panel

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The first place I lived in Shanghai was near a street called Wulumuqi Lu. In Shanghai, most of the streets are named after regions or cities in China. Wulumuqi is a place in Xinjiang, north west China. 'Lu' means 'Road', so this is Wulumuqi Road. Wulumuqi is a place that sits somewhere close to the permeable membrane between classical chinese living and hipster foreigner living. It's the kind of place that expats will live when they want to be able to get their beef noodles from a greasy chinese-speaking only alleyway eatery, then walk next door to get a flat white and gluten free pistachio brownie. As with anything that sits on a frontier, it is subject to lots of change. Restaurants and shops open and close with such regularity that you begin to doubt your own grasp on reality where you will walk past a korean barbecue place that you were sure wasn't there yesterday but can't be sure as you thought there was a hardware store nearby but that's gone now. Amid this chaos there are a couple of mainstays; above ground level there's some lovely classic Shanghai art deco architecture, the famous tree lined streets and institutions such as 'Avocado lady' who got the name as she somehow was the first person to obtain Avocados to import into Shanghai.

I ended up chossing a flat perspective where I kept all the foregraound quite Two dimensional, but I put in depth in the shops. This wasn't actually intentional, but I think it's because when i started out my main concern was the buildings and shops, so I scaled it accordingly. I spent a lot of time looking at the colours on the buildings, shapes, architecture and atmosphere. The people then ended up being a bit too small to be able to define properly. This worked out ok in the end because it's a busy street, and you rarely meet the same people more than once, and at a certain distance the people don't provide the character of the place, they're more like examples of how the space is used.

我在上海住的第一个地方在乌鲁木齐路附近。在上海,大多数街道都以中国的地区或城市命名。乌鲁木齐位于中国西北部的新疆。 “Road”的意思是“路”,所以叫乌鲁木齐路。乌鲁木齐路是一条有明显分界的街,一边是中国地道,一边是西方腔调。作为外国人,如果希望能够从只会讲汉语的油腻腻的小巷子店里吃上一碗牛肉面,然后走到隔壁买上一杯馥芮白和一块无麸质开心果布朗尼的话,乌鲁木齐路是个好选择。和很多边界性的事物一样,它会受到许多变化的影响。餐馆和商铺开开关关,如此频繁,以至于你开始怀疑是不是真的。你会走过一个韩国烤肉店,好像确定昨天还没有这家店,但又不能确定,因为你以为旁边原本有一家五金店,也不见了。当然,除了这些开开关关的变化外,也有一些一直存在的。有一些可爱的经典上海装饰艺术建筑,著名的梧桐树林荫街道和一些店,比如如“鳄梨女士”,叫这个名字是因为她是第一个把鳄梨带进上海的人。

最后,我选择了一个扁平的视角,将所有前景做二维处理,店铺深入立体。因为我开始时主要关注的是建筑物和商店,所以相应地进行了缩放。我花了很多时间在楼的颜色,形状,建筑和氛围上,导致人变得太小而没办法刻画每个人的特点。不过没有关系,因为这条街比较繁忙,而且很少会不止一次碰到同一个人,而且从远处看,人物并不体现这条街的特点,更像是填充了这片空间。