Opening Ceremomy: 8 September 2008
Duration: 9 September - 16 November 2008
Artistic Director: Zhang Qing Curators:
Julian Heynen and Henk Slager
Since its inauguration the Shanghai Biennale has repeatedly taken the city itself and its urban conditions as a starting point for its artistic explorations. In line with this inner logic, the curatorial team of the 2008 edition proposed to focus on one of the most import cornerstones of urban design: the public square which is a prime location of transfer, connection, connectivity, meeting, social and economical exchange.
As a starting point for the Seventh Shanghai Biennale the curatorial team suggested utilizing People's Square, of which the Shanghai Art Museum is actually part of. This public square seems to contain on a small-scale level a lot of crucial issues that the current Chinese society faces today. At People's Square the curatorial team found many issues related to the transition, such as the topical capitalism, the ultramodern architecture that express a spirit of optimism, the desire for a better life envisioned by for example the Grand Theater and the Museum for Urban Planning, as well as the numerous small stands operated by migrants. PROJECT For the 2008 Shanghai Biennale the curatorial team connects the Shanghai Art Museum directly to People's Square. For this reason, twenty-five emerging and established artists have been invited to take People's Square as visual metaphor for the complex dynamics of the people's mobility. Their work will be displayed on various media within and outside of the museum. Works that are shown outside were created with an intent to interact with the environment or the public. Participants: Pawel Althamer, Tiong Ang, Ricardo Basbaum, Mariana Castillo Deball, Chen Zhiguang, Ayse Erkmen, Rainer Ganahl, Jeanne van Heeswijk, Bethan Huws, Jing Shijianm, Kim Sanggil, Lin Chuanchu, Liu Ye, Lu Hao, Ma Baozhong, Thomas Ruff, Hito Steyerl, Tang Maohong, Wang Qingson, Lawrence Weiner, Wu Mingzhong, Yin Xiuzhen, Yu Fan, Zeng Hao, Zhang Qing and Zhou Tao. KEYNOTES On the second floor, the curatorial team will focus on solo-exhibitions of three prominent artists. This rather unusual proposal was conceived in reaction to a tendency among many Biennales to present a vast number of hardly distinguishable artistic positions. As a guideline for the choice of artists in this section a more reflective and general attitude towards the issue of mobility related to the urban, economical and social development should be apparent in their artistic production. Keynotes: Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan, Mike Kelley and Yue Minjun.
CONTEXT On the third floor, under the same theme, another thirty artists will be showing their work using non-shanghainese elements, to explore and discuss mobility issues in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. Participants: Guy Ben-Ner, Ursula Biemann, Big Dipper Group, Bu Hua, Chen Yun, Juergen Drescher, Inci Eviner, Harun Farocki, Zvi Goldstein, Yangah Ham, He Wenjue, Huang Hsinchien, Jia Zhangke, Jin Shi, Suchan Kinoshita, Charles Lim, Liu Ming, Angelika Mantz, Klaus Mettig, Roman Ondak, The Otolith Group, Ulrike Ottinger, Son Kuk Gyon, Su Xinping, Mieke Van de Voort, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Wang Qiang, Yang Shaobin, Yu Hua, Zhang Enli, Zhang Weijie and Zhu Jia.
SYMPOSIUM: MAPPING PUBLIC SPACE (September 8) Parallel to these artistic explorations an international symposium will discuss and evaluate similar research issues: topics of knowledge production, (public) art as a tool for urban research and ultimately, current curatorial models. Participants: Irit Rogoff, Mika Hannula, Wu Jiang, Kasper Koenig, Young Chul Lee and Xu Jiang.
PUBLICATION: THE SHANGHAI PAPERS (Hatje Cantz, Fall 2008) Besides the standard exhibition catalogue the curatorial team will produce a sourcebook that consists of texts by the participating artists. These texts present the artists' views on their artistic research within the context of the exhibition's theme (Editors: Annette W. Balkema and Xiang Liping). Book launch: Shanghai Art Museum, Closing Program November 16.
SPECIAL SUPPORT Bank Sarasin, Goethe Institut, Fonds BKVB, Mondriaan Foundation.