Thursday, November 11, 2010

Looking at the 2010 Shanghai Biennial

The Shanghai Biennial (curators Fan Di'an, Li Lei, Hua Yi and Gao Shiming), carrying the theme of “Rehearsal,” showcases many artists’ work from both China and overseas.

The first floor’s exhibitions are more strongly tied to the theme of Rehearsal (which aims to discuss and contemplate on the meaning of contemporary art). Featured works include those from Zhang Huan, Liu Xiaodong, The Long March Project, the MadeIn Company. I particularly liked the works in The Spread series from the Madeln Company, headed by Xu Zhen, particularly impressed me for its meaning. The works from this series, which claims to use the “media as a medium…to create media,” come together as a collage of paintings that represents both media and reality (the painting of the windows desktop screen with the clouds forming Kar Marx’s head is representative of this as the desktop screen represents the media and Karl Marx represents the ideology that has shaped the socio-economic-political conditions of China today). On a side note, Guan Wei’s works on modifying ancient Chinese landscape maps also adds an interesting combination between more traditional and modern art.

The next few floors display many interesting works, but do not flow as coherently as those on the first floor. For example, Yves Bernard and Yannick Antoine’s “The Gate” combines ancient Chinese painting elements and concepts such as ink paintings and more modern concepts, but does not really contribute to reviewing or reinventing contemporary art.

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