press release

Large exhibitions such as the ones organized by Shanghai Biennale provide not only an important occasion to showcase of contemporary art production, but also forums where artists can meet, challenge their own works and expand their experiences. Besides, the biennale offers the opportunity of a truly international exchange of ideas; while bringing together artists, curators, writers, theorists and art supporters from around the world, the biennale has become a critical space of dialogue within an increasingly global art market. The Shanghai Biennale highlights the increasingly important role of artistic production in the Asia-Pacific region.

Based on the experience in operating the past biennales, the 9th Shanghai Biennale 2012 will continue its local experience to face the global situation and cultural attitudes. It insists on constructing different cultural imaginations. The 9th Shanghai Biennale will be the inaugural show for Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum housed in a restoredindustrial building that used to be a thermal power plant. This marks a new beginning for the Shanghai Biennale in its 16 years of history.

The 9th Shanghai Biennale will focus on resources and energy, while the curatorial team will study the energy of sites, memories, will, comprehension and, ultimately, the community.


Thematic Exhibition

The themed exhibition will be composed of four parts, namely “Resources”, “Revisit”, “Reform” and “Republic”, which would focus on artists that can motivate the public, revisit or rewrite history, convert and transform energy and organize dialogues and communications respectively.

1. Resources “Resources” will look at art education, open colleges and art academies in various cities as well as the individual work of artists as educators and motivators. Their art activities serve as power generators, providing a motive force for social transformation.

2. Revisit “Revisit” will look at the rebirth of abandoned places, such as the restoration of old industrial cities and communities, the revival of traditional craftsmanship and building of new villages. It will show efforts around the world to revisit and rebuild history.

3. Reform “Reform” will look at artists whose works can detect, transform and convert energy. They are constantly shifting between a vision for problem-free future and fear for an approaching doomsday and can never stop. Their works constitute a process parallel with “Reform”.

4. Republic “Republic” means the networking and resonating of energy. It will look at how artists and the public jointly build a dynamic community and support each other in communal work and artistic creation. Thanks to such a lively self-organization, the foundation of our society is reconstructed.


Inter-City Pavilions for the 9th Shanghai Biennale

In occasion of the launch of the 9th Shanghai Biennale Reactivation, the Shanghai Inter-City Pavilions’ Project focuses on the interesting connections and energy exchanges between people and cultures which, in nowadays globalized world, are more likely to be identified within local communities rather than in national contexts. By some means, cities are metaphorical individuals that, with their particular “temper”, populate their countries.

Shanghai in its quest to become an international city, considered by many a ‘foreign” city in China, can find its own identity through the confrontation with other places, harbors and friends, that had portrayed the contemporary status of art not in a generic way, but in the punctual and relevant projects presented in each pavilion. So, despite this general and global tendency of amalgamation and simplification, the City Pavilions’ Project stands as a memento of independence of the extraordinary local. The individuality as an irreplaceable fragment of a bigger pictures that, with no pretentions of representing the whole, gives a glimpse of it, suggesting one of the many possible interpretations as a verse of a much more complicated poem.

The cities presented are in alphabetical order and followed by the curatorial team/organization:

Amsterdam Henk Slager, Antwerp Phillipe Pirotte, AucklandVincent Ward, Bandung Agung Jennong / Charles Esche / Defne Ayas / Davide Quadrio, Barcelona Julia Morandeira, Berlin Peter Anders, Bogota Juan Andres Gaitan, Brooklyn Cleopatra’s, Daejeon Gim Jungi, Dakar Koyo Kouoh, Detroit Rebecca Mazzei, Diankou Qiu Zhefeng, Dusseldorf Beate Reifenscheid, Qi Yang, Istanbul Defne Ayas / Davide Quadrio, Lille Metropole Pierre Giner, Lima Jose Carlos Mariategui, Jorge Villacorta, Los Angeles Lauri Firstenberg, Mexico City, Magali Arriola, Daniela Perez, Moscow Nikolai Molok, Mumbai Diana Campbell/ Susan Hapgood, Palermo Laura Barreca / Davide Quadrio, Pittsburgh Chelsea Haines, Rhone-Alpes (Lyon) Thierry Raspail, San Francisco Chris Fitzpatrick, Sao Paulo Adriano Pedrosa, Sendai Shimizu Tamotsu / Kai Kenji, Sydney Aaron Seto / Toby Chapman / Sharon Chen as Curatorial project manager of the Sydney City Pavilion, Tehran Nina Moaddel / Benham Kamrani, Ulan Bator Uranchimeg (Orna) Tsultem, Vancouver Daina Augait.

Supervised by: the 9th Shanghai Biennale chief curator Qiu Zhijie and co-curators Boris Groys, Jens Hoffman and Johnson Chang Tsong-zungOrganized by: The Organizing Committee of Shanghai Biennale; managed by Davide Quadrio, Francesca Girelli and Huang Mi. In collaboration with Shanghai Huangpu district government.

Time: 2nd October 2012 to 31st December 2012


Special Exhibitions — Rescue: Shanghai Ark


During the Second World War, Jewish people were prosecuted by Germany and most European countries refused to take Jewish refugees for fear of Germany retaliation. China, on the other hand, opened its door. Over 30,000 Jewish refugees fled to Shanghai. This special exhibition will show photos of Shanghai taken by these refugees as well as paintings by a Jewish artist, which will showcase how people survived in disasters by supporting each other. This exhibition corresponds to the “Republic” component in the themed exhibition and is a tribute to the great city of Shanghai.


Special Exhibitions — Related: Zhongshan Park Project

The 2012 9th Shanghai Biennale’s Deke Erh’s Archive:Oral and Visual Documentary, part of the special project “Zhongshan Park” will officially open at 3pm on September 10th 2012 at the Shanghai Edo Art Museum. At the same time, this opening ceremony will signal the official beginning of the “Zhongshan Park Project”, one of the projects at the 9th Shanghai Biennale. The Biennale’s Chief Curator Qiu Zhijie, heads of the Shanghai Municipal Culture, Radio Broadcasting, Film and Television Administration, and Shanghai Changning District representatives, as well as famous artist Deke Erh will attend the exhibition and project opening ceremony.

The “Zhongshan Park Project” begins with Shanghai’s Zhongshan Park, encompassing the Hongqiao High-Speed Rail station and Pudong Airport; extending southwards, it covers all the Zhongshan Parks in the Hokkien cities of Zhangzhou, Xiamen and Quanzhou. Going east, the project crosses the Straits of Taiwan to Kinmen, Hualien and Tamsui, demonstrating the artistic and innovative strength of artists on both sides of the Straits and internationally. Finally, with the holding of the Shanghai Biennale, the project’s focus will return to Shanghai’s Zhongshan Park.

The event’s concept is divided into three sections: how memory is preserved and expressed; the process of building community identity; and Zhongshan Park as a negotiation ground between traditional values and the needs of modern society. The Zhongshan Park Project represents a reflection on the collected memories of the urban residents within its remit and on the classical and modern techniques for forging group identity. At the same time, the project responds to the emphasis on the importance of revisiting history in the Themed Exhibition’s themes of ‘republic’ and ‘reform.’

Deke Erh’s exhibition Deke Erh’s Archive:Oral and Visual Documentary is an important part of the “Zhongshan Park Project” at the Biennale and touches on issues closely related to those raised by the Project. As one of China’s earliest independent photographers, Deke Erh excels at documenting and capturing cultural change. For thirty years he has focused on collecting and arranging oral and visual culture records. The exhibition’s background is the “teahouse”, interweaved throughout with Deke Erh’s documentary work from recent years, and is laid out in the gallery in different sections: “Oral history from tea-drinkers in Zhujiajiao”, “Family Albums of Teachers and Students from the Shanghai American School”, “Speeches by Hu Shi” and “Seeking the graduates from University of Shanghai,Aurora University and St. John’s University” These different sections display material in audio installation, photography, film and history, from tea drinkers by the riverbanks in Zhujiajiao to students at the former St John’s University, from students at the Shanghai American School to Hu Shi when he was an overseas student. The entire exhibition gives us the impression of having seen the most marvelous memories from an age of honesty.

This event is hosted by the 2012 9th Shanghai Biennale and the Publicity Department under the CPC Committee of Changning District; and organized by the Changning District Bureau of Culture, Changning Park Green Development Ltd, and Shanghai Edo Art Museum. The exhibition will be held at the Edo Art Museum in Zhongshan Park, Changing District, Shanghai, from September 10th to December 26th. Synchronized with the rest of the Zhongshan Park project, the exhibition will finally move to the main location at the Shanghai Biennale, thus completing the “Zhongshan Park Project” journey.

Düsseldorf Pavillon / Berlin Pavillon: 03.10. – 31.12.2012 Johannes auf der Lake, Thomas Stricker, Qi Yang, Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius, Florian Stirnemann

9th Shanghai Biennale 2012
Kuratoren: Qiu Zhijie, Jens Hoffman, Boris Groys, Johnson Chang
& Henk Slager, Agung Hujatnikajennong, Charles Esche, Davide Quadrio, Defne Ayas, Philippe Pirotte, Vincent Ward ...

Alle Künstler: Falke Pisano, Jeremiah Day, Nicoline van Harskamp, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Ryan Gander, Frank Haines, Sanya Kantarovsky, Martha Rosler, Yasumoto Masako, Irrelevant Commission , Lee Tim, The Liter Of Light Pavilion  (Illac Angelo Diaz, Stephen Lamb, Andrew Lord, Justin White Isang Litrong Liwanag, Naiza H Khan, Gillian Wearing, Maryam Jafri, Ju Yan, Tang Mingxiu, Huang Yongping, Shen Yuan, Lin Chiwei, Johannes auf der Lake, Thomas Stricker, Qi Yang, Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius, Florian Stirnemann ...