Contextures : The Eye
Fine-art canvas : 100cm x 75cm x 4cm
Copyright : David Barlow 2013
This image shows an old, electric light cavern in the stairwell of a building erected by the Japanese military in the 1930s. The crumbling cavern and light socket resemble an eye. peering down on the mighty changes sweeping through Shanghai — a transformation which has already engulfed Pudong and the majority of Puxi. Areas like this, just north of the Bund (the buildings, people and communities which inhabit it) — will also, very soon be a thing of the past.
I used to think that Hong Kong was the master of reinvention and reconstruction. But Shanghai does it on a far grander, more dramatic scale. It took Hong Kong the better part of a hundred years to obliterate the past; but in Shanghai they have decided to do it overnight — quite literally in some cases (one can go to bed late in the evening, wake up the following morning, throw open the curtains and look at a newly constructed road (done in the night, apparently by an army of wai-di goblins!) …