I wanted to know what it was like to walk down a real street, not see this cleaned-up virtual reality. Where were the urban furniture, the crowded bazaars, the supermarket shelves, the red-light districts? Where were the videos of fashion shows to accompany the showroom dummies dressed in couture? I wanted real people to show me their homes and the design objects they lived with. Excuse me for using a trendy word, but this kind of exhibitions need to be much more of an immersive experience.
Even safely on design territory there was an omnipresent timidity. The curators make little attempt to define the emerging aesthetic of Chinese design - although it is detectable in the exhibition. Chinese elements surface in extremely elegant graphic design. In one poster, a leg in a black trouser is intertwined snake-like with another leg decorated with Chinese florally patterned cloth - a neat symbol of modernisation. Literary magazines, meanwhile, use striking monochromatic designs based on Chinese letters. Another purely Chinese quality is the evocation in haute couture ballgowns of the imperial golden age of 1930s Shanghai.
Via "Chinese Art of Deception", Evening Standard
Those of us unable to see the Victoria & Albert Museum's long awaited exhibition on design in China can enjoy it vicariously through reviews. The exhibition opened yesterday and will continue till 13 July.