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Island6 Arts Center (六岛艺术中心) is a not-for-profit, artist-run space in Shanghai, P.R.C. founded in 2006 by French curator/artist Thomas Charvériat. island6's mission is to provide a forum for contemporary artists whose works explore social, aesthetic, and philosophical issues and show "a large roster of European and Chinese artists whose work is exhibited in a series of tightly curated group shows."

Since April 2006, island6 Arts Center has had four locations in the Moganshan Lu area, the vibrant art district in Shanghai. Currently showing its 48th exhibition, island6 has exhibited more than 500 artists from 21 different countries, sponsored 139 resident artists and helped in the creation and the production of around 2000 art projects. In 2007, island6 founded Liu Dao, a multimedia art group composed of performance, sound, photography and video artists collaborating with engineers to create electronic art.

Origins in The Fou Foong Flour Mill

island6 & The Fou Foong Flour Mill
island6 was first established at 120 Moganshan Road, in the Fou Foong Flour Mill, a four-storey red brick building designed in 1897 by the British architectural firm of Dallas & Atkinson. The Fou Foong Flour Mill was founded by Mr. Sun Duoxin and his brother Mr. Sun Duosen (from Anhui province) who made it the largest and most advanced mill of Asia of the late nineteenth century by being the first ones to import American machinery and by offering its 2,000 employees the benefits of a hospital and two on-site schools.

Its success attracted many other entrepreneurs, resulting in the creation of 16 additional mills and the base for China's modern milling industry. Later it was purchased by Rong Yiren, Vice-President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 1998 and onetime business tycoon.

In 2002, the Fou Foong Flour Mill complex was sold to a real estate developer, most of the silos were demolished and the "small packaged flour" warehouse where island6 once stood was facing imminent demolition. The remnant of Suzhou Creek?s industry was fought by architects and university professors, and island6 became historical heritage architecture. In 2006, the warehouse was rented out to Thomas Charvériat, Margherita Salmaso, Zheng Guoyang and Kang Jingfang who were responsible for the foundation of the first island6. On March 2006, Thomas Charvériat registered Island6 Arts Center Ltd in Hong Kong and on April 1st 2006, ?Invisible Layers, Electric Cities? the first art exhibition organized by island6 (and curated by Allard van Hoorn & Margherita Salmaso) opened its door. From June 2006 to June 2008 Charvériat assumed the direction of the space. For these two years, island6 was noted for its remarkable location in a field of rubble surrounded by "high-rises creeping in from the distance", standing as a prime example of Shanghai's transformation from old to new.

In June 2008, facing imminent eviction by real estate developers, island6 moved to 50 Moganshan Road, a district of galleries inside old warehouses and factories, where it remains to this day.
[edit]Move to M50

island6 in the heart of the m50 Art district

Established in 2006 in M50, the new island6 space was founded towards the promotion of emerging and prominent Chinese and international artists. The m50 district is found at the heart of the former Shanghai Chunming Roving Factory. Located on the southern bank of the Suzhou River, m50 art district was once called the Xinhe Spinning Mill, belonging to the Zhou-family and supplied merchants from Anhui province with cotton and textile. In 1994 the enterprise was renamed Shanghai Chunming Woolen Mill.

Following a series of joint exhibitions between island6 and ifa gallery, the converted space, designed by French architect Philippe Diani and dressed with furniture by Aymeric Lefort, has undergone complete renovations. On August 2008, the space was once again rehabilated by Taiwanese architects Zheng Guoyang and Kang Jingfang. Starting January 2009, Thomas Charvériat, seconded by Zane Mellupe, took the direction of the space. In October 2009, Binbin Wang joined island6's board of directors. In 2010, writer Peter Bradt joined the curatorial team.

Island6 art collective

The art collective Liu Dao is the most frequent and extensive presence in the island6 Arts Center. The group?s works often use video recordings of simple movements to be turned into an animated sequence of bitmaps. The results are alluring LED representations that blink and shift in their own realities. Liu Dao?s works tend to move in the themes of sensory engagement, voyeurism, urban development, tradition versus modernity and technology, and Chinese cultural history.

Artist in Residency Program

A key component of the gallery is its residency program, which was set up in 2006 to help artists from around the world interact with the constantly shifting energy of Shanghai and build a relationship with its inexhaustible dynamic. Resident artists have over 750 square meters to work with, as well as an exhibition area and production studio, while staying near Shanghai University. It is a member of the International Artist-in-Residence Organizations Res Artis and Trans Artists Foundation. By June 2010, the island6 Residency Program focused only on Chinese national artists and was by invitation only. The program was ceased in late 2010 due to the directors taking on a new direction. Nonetheless, Liu Dao still occasionally cooperates with other artists for the creation of truly unique pieces.


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