Modu Magazine: A Tale of Urban China

A Day in an Open City: A Journey Through “Springtime Along the River” – Exhibition

With the upcoming exhibition “A day in an open city”, curator Beatrice Leanza invites us to explore the relationship between ancient Chinese Song history and contemporary urban life and visual culture. A hand-scroll painting “Springtime along the river” (清明上河图 qingming shanghe tu) attributed to the artist Zhang Zeduan and completed around the beginning of the 11th century, is at the heart of the exhibition. Key representation of the Chinese urban culture, it captures the daily life in Dongjing (today Kaifeng city) when the metropolis was the capital city of the Northern Song Dynasty; this masterpiece of literary and visual depiction testifies the cultural, economic and social ecologies of the city at that time. Beyond the cultural richness that characterized this Song China’ scroll, the meticulously researched panorama of this exhibition deals with urban evolutions and transformations.  

Hold from July 26 to August 25 at the Asian World Expo in Hong Kong, the exhibition itself is structured in two parts. First, it presents the “making of” process of a digital animation about the painting together with an introduction to the historical background of the masterpiece. The second and main part of the show is composed of eight core scenes from the scroll itself, covering key subjects of Song Culture and notably related to architecture, urbanism and building environment. Ten installations by designers currently active in China broaden this section by focusing on particular aspects of Song Culture in the contemporary perspective.



Chinese Song culture connecting contemporary urban life


July 26, 2019 to August 25, 2019


Hall 3 – Asia World Expo,  Airport Expo Blvd, Hong Kong. Opening hours 9am to 6pm.


The Palace Museum, Phoenix TV


Beatrice Leanza of B/Side Design


Wei Xingyu for Weestar Studio, Henny van Nistelrooy for Studio HVN, Lava Beijing for Lava, Pinwu Design Studio, Tang Kangshuo and Zhang Miao for MAT Office,  MAX Office, Catherine McMahon and Jenny Chou for ATLAS Studio, Nod Young for A Black Cover Design, Benwu Studio, Zhao Liqun for FIELD.

Scenes :

SCENE 1 | A Capital in the 11th Century: Origins of a Modern Metropolis 
SCENE 2 | The Ecologies of 11th Century Civilization: Reforms and Popular culture
SCENE 3 | Geographies of a Medieval City: Waterways and Maritime Trade
SCENE 4 | Naval Engineering
SCENE 5 | Streetscape: Urban Transformation and Commercial Ecosystem
SCENE 6 | The Production and Distribution of Knowledge: The Built Environment as Thought-System
SCENE 7 | Urban Society & Material Culture
SCENE 8 | The Architecture of Everyday Life

  • 2019/07/26 - 2019/08/25

  • Hong Kong

  • The Palace Museum & Phoenix TV