Nostalgia of a 21st Century Flâneuse

by on Thursday, 30 June 2011 6152 hits Comments
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Wondering the streets of Shanghai is sentimental, whoever you are. If you are a tourist or passenger who has visited Shanghai several times, you might sigh that this attractive city is developing too fast, and every time you visit, you can’t recognize what it used to be. If you are a resident, you might be proud of this modern city, but also regard this city with other complex feelings concerning Shanghai’s tumultuous history. If you are a worker from other provinces of China, this huge city might bring you deep nostalgic feelings. The second and third conditions are my imagination, because I am only a tourist from Taipei who is neither resident nor worker. I am also a 21st century flâneuse tribute to Baudelaire. Loafing around in this city, surrounded by the parasol trees (梧桐樹wutong shu), I was under the impression 19th century French flâneur reincarnated in Shanghai. The French concession is mainly in Luwan and Xuhui Districts. I visited no.319 Yueyang Road (岳陽路), where the Former Consulate of France (法國領事館) (pic.1)(pic.2)is situated. On the same road, at no.145, is a French-style garden residence, which is the former residence of T. V. Soong (宋子文). Besides these European residences, there is also some modernist architecture. Most of these buildings were built by Hungarian architect L.E.Hudec.(pic.3) who lived in Shanghai for about 30 years.

This city is a melting pot for an enormous amount of different styles. It’s blissful, but also confusing. Strolling through different areas, it seems like travelling around in different countries. In The Bund, I can see a row of beautiful architecture from different cultures.  It’s an embodiment of different imperialist powers, which let Qing government cede some territory in order to pay off its indemnities. Yet, Shanghai’s ignominious history, just makes the city more glamorous.

ida_shanghai_flaneuse_2

 

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(Photos: Ida Yang)

 


 

[1] T.V.Soong was at a former Chinese Premier in 1930 and was in a highly influential position throughout the Nationalist era. His three sisters were married to presidents Chiang Kai-shek, Sun Yat-sen and China’s former richest man H.H. Kung.

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 17:33
Ida Yang (楊詩涵)

Currently studying a Masters in Art Criticism at National Taipei University of Education.
Undergraduate at Fu Jen Catholic University, Department of French Language and Literature.

畢業於輔仁大學法文系
目前就讀國立臺北教育大學藝術與造形設計學系研究所藝術評論組

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