Covid-19 has changed the world in drastic ways.
In Shanghai, social restrictions have tapered off in the past few months, and the streets have slowly returned to their previous bustle. But at the height of the pandemic, we learned that what we once thought were nuisances are actually affirmations of life—whether it’s the hordes of bicyclists and scooter riders who dilly-dally in the narrow bike lanes, the chain-smoking cab drivers who flick spent butts out of their windows, or the street barbers who happily occupy entire sidewalks. These familiar sights are the lifeblood of the city, and their absence prompted artist Nini Sum of Shanghai-based print atelier IdleBeats to release Snapshot, a series of silkscreen prints that pay homage to China’s most populous city.
过去的几个月里，上海逐渐放宽社交限制，街头渐渐恢复往日的喧闹。然而，或许在疫情最严峻的时候，我们才意识到，那些曾经让我们感到厌烦的事情，却是生活里的“烟火气”。在狭窄的自行车道上，不紧不慢的自行车和踏板车；往车窗外弹烟灰的 “老烟枪” 出租车司机；还有在人行道上摆摊的街头理发师 —— 这些熟悉的场景，是这座城市的生命力。疫情期间，上海版画工作室 IdleBeats 的艺术家 Nini Sum 将这些消失的城市景象制作成丝网版画《快照》（Snapshot），来致敬这座人口最稠密的中国城市。
For Sum, a Nanjing native who’s lived in Shanghai since 2008, seeing the streets deserted during the city’s lockdown was deeply unsettling. “It was as if everything had evaporated,” she recalls. “The city’s vibrant personality was suddenly gone, and it occurred to me. This personality was exactly what I sought to capture in Snapshot.”
Nini 来自南京，2008 年移居上海。疫情封锁期间，荒无人烟的上海街道使她按捺不住焦虑的内心。她回忆说：“好像一切突然人间蒸发，整座城市一下子失去了原本的活力，而这正是我想在《快照》中捕捉的场景。”
The eight prints of Snapshot feature a quirky cast of characters, ranging from anthropomorphized animals and mythical figures from Chinese folklore to ordinary people of the city. The images are playful, capturing the human warmth that was temporarily extinguished. Though each work is narratively unconnected, together, the series offers a clear message: it’s the diverse individuals of a city who make it exciting. “These prints were my interpretation of the people and happenings that made Shanghai such a special place,” Sum says. “It felt especially meaningful to release it in these times.”
The works are also a lens into Sum’s own past and present, with a majority of the prints depicting the French Concession and nearby areas. One street of particular interest, serving as the backdrop to a number of prints from the series, is Xiangyang South Road. It’s where IdleBeats’ spacious studio is now located, and where Sum spent most of her time when she first arrived in the city. “My life was this street: I rented my first apartment here, I worked on the street, and now, over a decade later, our new studio is here again,” she says. “I’ve walked this street countless times. I’d say I’ve spent more time on this street than in Nanjing. I’ve grown really fond of the people and the street life here.”
这些作品也是 Nini 对过去和现在生活的记录，其大部分都是以法租界和附近地区为背景创作的。尤其是襄阳南路，这里是 IdleBeats （爱豆笔此）工作室所在地，Nini 第一次到达上海时，大部分时间都在这里度过的。于是，襄阳南路成了整个系列中多幅作品中的背景。她说：“这条街就是我的生活：我在这里租了第一间公寓，曾经也在这里工作；十年后的现在，我们新的工作室又回到了这里。这条街，我走了无数次，在这条街上的时间可能比在南京还要多，我喜欢这里的人和街。”
Snapshot was originally showcased in 2018, in the fourth edition of IdleBeats’ Tales of Two Cities exhibition, but it was never made available to the public. Now, for the first time, Sum’s entire series has been released as limited-edition silkscreen prints, available exclusively in the Neocha Shop.
Two of the eight original prints—Barber Shop and Taxi Driver—have been released in brand new colorways while the remaining six have stayed faithful to their original colors. Click here to view product details and purchase.
《快照》系列作品最初于 2018 年在 IdleBeats 的《双城记》第四期展览中展出，但从未公开发售。现在，Nini 首次将系列作品制成限量版的丝网版画，在 Neocha 线上商店独家发售。
八幅作品中，有两幅（《熊猫理发店》和《出租车司机》）以全新的色彩进行重新绘制；其余六张则保留了原本的设计和 40 x 50 厘米尺寸。点击此处，查看产品详情并进行选购。
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Instagram: @nini_sum | @idlebeats_china
Contributor & Photographer: David Yen
Videographers: Damien Louise, Paul Gardette
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li
Instagram: @nini_sum | @idlebeats_china
供稿人与摄影师: David Yen
视频师: Damien Louise, Paul Gardette
英译中: Olivia Li