MAM Shanghai to host groundbreaking Zaha Hadid Retrospective throughout the summer
Though the art world is now waking from hibernation, it’s not with a yawn but rather a fittingly stylish flourish. Some of the world’s top institutions are unveiling some impressive exhibitions to make it worth the long wait, and among these is the stunning new Zaha Hadid retrospective at MAM Shanghai. ZHA Close Up pays homage to four decades of work from the revered British-Iraqi architect, artist and designer, who has become a global icon for her sleek and striking vision.
The new exhibition is set to run through the summer, exploring Hadid’s pioneering career from the founding of her acclaimed studio back in 1979 to her present-day projects. Thanks to an extremely productive 40 years, this retrospective is packed with fascinating insights into the groundbreaking projects which the architect has fronted across six continents. It touches on work dating back to 1979 and across the millennium, from the MAXXI Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome (2010), the Guangzhou Opera House (2010) and Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku (2102) to Leeza SOHO in Beijing (2019), The Opus in Dubai (2020) and the projects which are still in development throughout the world, continuing her legacy even after her untimely passing. The prolific subject was always driven by a desire to innovate, and after making her name in the world of architecture, she was also the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. This makes the exhibition not only a masterclass in building design, but also a celebration of female talent and success in a traditionally male-dominated sector.
Hadid had a strong connection to China, having first visited back in 1981 at the start of her career, travelling from north to south to study its vast architectural and cultural landscape. This show will be a first for mainland China, making it the perfect exhibition for welcoming visitors back to one of the country’s most esteemed establishments. At over 7,000 square metres, MAM Shanghai is the most extensive contemporary art museum in the city. It’s located right in the heart of the “cultural corridor” or museums and galleries, with a prime spot along the city’s waterfront. As a work of architectural interest in itself, it seems an apt place to house such an important and extensive display. While learning about the ways in which the subject has manipulated space and materials to create some of the world’s most wonderous structures, visitors can explore MAM Shanghai’s sprawling premises.
MAM Shanghai’s artistic director Shai Baitel is honoured to be hosting this landmark exhibition, which pays tribute to a woman who has irrevocably shaped the art world: “I am excited to include, as part of our interdisciplinary and immersive approach at MAM, this important exhibition, celebrating Zaha Hadid’s ingenuity. She was an exceptional woman, and we are delighted to show our audience the development of her movement as a researcher, designer, and architect through various geographies and histories – and how this movement impacts the current innovative vision and work of Zaha Hadid architects, following her untimely passing. Zaha Hadid architects (ZHA) continues and expands on her legacy and MAM is proud to present this show, granting unprecedented insights into the vision of one of the most important architects of our time.”
The multidisciplinary institution is committed not just to satisfying the needs of the seasoned art lover, but to nurturing creativity and offering an education for all. They are passionate about both equality and diversity, which is why they have also fronted a series of accessible initiatives. Among these is the Night Museum which is set to light up this the waterfront this winter. This exciting addition will see large-scale artworks projected onto the museum’s vast facade, creating a dynamic riverside display that is visible far and wide and which changes every few months to give a platform to a roster of exciting creatives. Given that the displays are outside, admission for this is completely free. Also new to the gallery and free of charge is the stunning new sculpture garden, which stretches along a whopping 1.5km of terrain. It will feature work from a diverse array of local and international artists, who will use natural, recycled or recyclable tools to create ecologically focused work that rekindles the visitor’s relationship with the world around them. These are some examples of how the museum aims to make use of its versatile space in pioneering ways in order to create an immersive and engaging experience that transcends the traditional white gallery walls. The new exhibition is also set to challenge our traditional approach to art and make us rethink the structures around us courtesy of one of the world’s most iconic and revolutionary designers.
The editorial unit
ZHD: Close Up is at MAM Shangai from the 26th June to 15th September. For further information about upcoming exhibitions and installments, as well as admission times and ticket prices, visit the museum’s website.