A Shanghai-born and raised artist, Yuan Chongyin, offers a fantastic narration to express his mixed feelings about the changes in the city. The idea to create the series Inside Out was inspired by the destruction of the Lilongs of Shanghai. “I was born and raised in Shanghai with this transformation; I am a part of the city and the city is a part of me. As an artist, I paint to ask myself : what is a city ? what is my relation with Shanghai ?” The series of “Inside Out” expresses the conflicting emotions of mine, trying to unveil the colorful world beyond the walls, under the towers, between the fogs… For me, Shanghai has always been in transformation playing with modernization, tradition, and internationalization. This dynamic is for me and my work : absolute Shanghai”
As it is an iconic part of Shanghai’s identity, the lilong buildings are the main subject of Inside Out. The fact that they have similar outside appearance but very different internal structures fascinate the artist. “As soon as a destruction site starts, the internal side of the walls are appearing on the street, like a cake being cut, revealing what were intimate spaces to people. An inside world full of secret stories is exposed.”
Yuan Chongyin is presently, for 6 months from February till August 2018, a resident artist of the Swatch Art Peace Hotel Shanghai.