Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai Grand Tower welcomes Gregory Burns as the hotel’s first-ever artist-in-residence. During his residence, the renowned American artist will experience Shanghai amidst the luxurious services and facilities of the Grand Tower.
Mr. Burns will document his feelings in this journey through a series of paintings and written anecdotes, which will later be displayed exclusively in the Grand Tower. This is the first of an upcoming series to continuously position Pudong Shangri-La as the centre for the arts through regular fine art exhibitions at The Gallery, art investment pieces displayed around the hotel and performance art shows at gala dinners, such as the recent Sounds of Hawaii.
The first painting in this series is the “Shangri-La Pudong” Mixed Media currently strategically displayed in the exclusive Horizon Club Lounge on the 29th floor of the Grand Tower. Upon reaching the Horizon Club Lounge (accessible only to guests staying at the Horizon Club floors), the painting takes centre stage. The bright turquoise imagery greets guests with a fresh essence of hope amidst the chaotic cityscape – an ironic mirror image of the view of the bund from the venue’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
This work seems to be a reflection of his impressions of the bund in west Shanghai, and its 1.5-kilometre stretch of historical architecture. It is likely to have been inspired by his stay in February 2013 at the Horizon Bund View Room at the Grand Tower of Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai.
The flashing billboards were presented using printed articles from the mass media, and the heritage architecture along the bund was dotted with more details. Such combination of both old and new, juxtaposed against the ever-flowing Huangpu River, forms the dynamic landscape that makes the waking moments spent in the room such a story.
The choice of Mr. Burns as the first artist-in-residence rests with his longstanding relationship with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts. He was first introduced to the family as artist-in-residence in 2010 and 2011 at Shangri-La Maldives and later at Shangri-La Tokyo in 2012. Recently, his latest collection, Painted Journeys, were also featured at The Gallery at Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai from 11 October to 31 December 2012. In early 2013, Mr. Burns also joined the hotel’s efforts in engaging the community. He turned the hotel’s regular visit to children with leukaemia in its adopted charity, Fudan University Hospital, into a painting class and inspirational sharing session for all attendees. During the session, he shared his struggles with polio, and how he managed to transform his challenges into strength – competing in the Paralympics and becoming an accomplished artist.
About Gregory Burns
Handicapped American painter Gregory Burns has been travelling to China for more than 20 years, studying art and recording enormous transformations. A three-time Paralympic athlete, Mr. Burns has won gold medals and set world records in swimming pools from Barcelona to Sydney. As a painter, he has carried canvas and brush across five continents. Whether searching for new vistas to paint, travelling on business during a stint in the corporate world or flying to meet one of his many motivational speaking or charity commitments, Mr. Burns spends a lot of time on the road.
Mr. Burns studied Chinese painting, calligraphy and seal carving; he has been a witness to its rapid, tectonic transformations. His outsized paintings are bold and passionate, with powerful strokes and big blocks of colour. This time, he will take visitors on an artistic journey through his paintings, offering insight into his development from realism to abstraction, his experiences as a Paralympian gold medallist, the adventures in many countries he has visited and his thoughts as a motivational speaker.
Other Art Involvements of Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai
Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai is the proud museum to more than 30 pieces of artworks ranging across such mediums as contemporary photographs, oil paintings and boulder alabaster sculptures. These artworks, spotting a trend of contemporary Asian fine art, are displayed all around the hotel. The latest additions include oil paintings by upcoming Chinese artists Chen Jiang Hong featuring elements of nature in bold calligraphy strokes. Another Chinese artist worthy of mention is Lu Jun, whose digital print on paper is a clever photography of traditional Chinese calligraphy ink in water, presenting an illusion of mountains and water.
The Grand Tower, home to The Gallery, aims to introduce rising stars in the art industry, presenting to the public their talents and artwork. Every two months, The Gallery introduces the latest works of an exciting local artist. Guests are welcome to purchase any work for their own collection.
The hotel also organises gala events which place a strong emphasis on performance art. In December 2012, “Sounds of Hawaii”, a festive evening consisting of a gourmet three course Hawaiian fusion gala dinner and grand performances, featured Grammy award-winning musician Jeff Peterson on the slack guitar and his band.