Thursday, November 25, 2010

by Mikael on SH Biennale


Shanghai Biennale
Shanghai Art Museum until January

Shanghai is bustling with art the week I go to the 8th Shanghai
Biennale and I am already full of other impressions from different
galleries and shows.
The Shanghai Biannual displays a variety of artistic expressions, not
only from China and Asia but from around the world, and that this is
the center of attention in the art scene of Shanghai becomes clear as
I walk in through the front doors.

As I walk in on the first floor, things are very organized and put together.
The show flows and the works seem to speak with each other.
The theme "rehearsal" is clearly visible, and there is no need to read
any plaques to understand the works connection with the theme.
Zhang Huan's temple structure that is the set for one of his operas
clearly speaks the language of the theme and lets you as a viewer
emerge yourself into the artists work, something that seem to be a
cohesive element in the show.

Another good example of this is on the second floor, where I am able
to enter artist Ma Liang's studio that has been recreated in one of
the rooms.

Although some of the more to me interesting individual works are found
on the top two floors. There is a sense that the two curators instead
of creating a good mix and balance corresponding to the theme, instead
put in a random mix of their own personal favorite artists. The
balance and focus found on the second floor just completely vanishes
as I walk up the stairs.
The actual curatorial work seems therefore quite cluttered, imprecise
and in some cases
even quite blatantly obviously bad. Maybe the fact that the multiple
curators did not seem to have fully come to an agreement, the
governmental censorship and that while viewing the show, several rooms
still being built; just adds to the sense of rehearsal.
Maybe the open ended theme is the perfect cover all the madness that
goes wrong when putting together an international show in China.


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