Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Translocalmotion- is the theme of the SHanghai Biennial

Henk Slager, who was plagiarized last Shanghai biennial, is one of this year's curators...

The First Press Conference Of The Seventh Shanghai Biennale 2008
From:Biennale Office Date:2008.1.21

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 proposes 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 economic exchange.

As a concrete starting point for the seventh Shanghai Biennale the curatorial team suggests to take the People’s Square, the environment that 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. One of the most significant aspects of these is population movement from underdeveloped rural areas to developed urban spaces in search for opportunities that happens against the background of drastic social and economic change in China. The nation is rapidly developing from an agricultural society to an industrialized information society, and from a command economy to a market economy (cf. the analysis of the current migration problematics by Xiang Liping: Cheng Shi Kuai ke). On the People’s Square we find many of these issues of transition, such as the topical rhetorics of capitalism, the ultramodernist architecture that expresses a spirit of optimism, the desire for a better life envisioned by the Grand Theater and the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, but also by the numerous small stands that house the economic activities of migrants.

For the 2008 Biennale, the curatorial team proposes to connect the Shanghai Art Museum more directly with the square itself. For that reason, as the first section of the exhibition, they intend to invite around 20 emerging and mature artists to take the example of the People’s Square as a starting point for their research and artistic work. The outcome of this research can be pluriform: it could be either works in different media, outside or inside the museum.

As possible outside works the curatorial team can imagine urban proposals, site-specific activities, interventions in the public space, interventions in the public media, performances, et cetera. However, each artist in this section should create – as an outcome of their research – an additional work to be shown on the ground floor of the museum. The exhibition on the ground floor should have a strong visual attraction to introduce the visitors to the theme of the People’s Square as a metaphor for the complex dynamics of the mobility of people in China today.

In this respect, special attention should also be paid to the direct environment of the museum building, such as the gate to the street, the fa.ade and the parking lot opposite the entrance.

As a first insert into the general exhibition the curatorial team proposes to use the galleries on the mezzanine floor to host an exhibition of the history of the People’s Square since the beginning of the 20th century, including photographs, plans and other relevant documents, but also possibly films in which the square plays a significant role. This part of the Biennale has to be curated by a local specialist.

As a second section of the main exhibition the curatorial team proposes to create a special focus on the theme in the shape of three solo-exhibitions of mid-career 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.

As a second insert, using the variety of given spaces of the Shanghai Art Museum, the curatorial team proposes to use one of the VIP rooms on the second floor for the installment of a soundpiece by another artist.

The last section of the main exhibition, on the third floor, might consist of (existing) works of about 20 artists, which reflect on the theme of the exhibition, but in this case using non-Shanghai sources and contexts as a starting point. They could explore issues such as migration and integration for example in South-Asian, European or American countries.

As a third insert, the curatorial team proposes a temporary FM radio station operating from the VIP room on the ground floor, playing music selected by the participating artist, and conducting interviews with artists, visitors and people from the cultural scene.

According to the chosen starting point of the seventh Shanghai Biennale, the People’s Square, its history and phenomenological characteristics, the curatorial team proposes to expose as much as possible of the original structure and features of the museum’s building.

As an extension to the exhibition in the Shanghai Art Museum, the curatorial team proposes to place art works in the public spaces of the Pudong International airport and the Shanghai Central Railway station, as these are focusing points of transition and migration.

Opening Ceremony: Sep 8, 2008
Duration: 9 Sep-16 Nov, 2008
Hosted by the Organizing Committee of the Shanghai Biennale
Address: Shanghai Art Museum(325, Nanjing Road West)

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