Can’t get to the Shanghai Biennale? First day in 10 pictures

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Art Radar was at the Shanghai Biennale in November this year. We took a ton of photos and have selected ten of the best to help give those of you who weren’t able to attend a glimpse of what the event had to offer. For some images we have quoted from the wall panels that accompanied the artwork at the event or from what was written about the artwork in the Biennale catalogue.

Qiu Zhijie, 'Colourful Lantern at the Shanghai Biennale', installation, 2010.

Qiu Zhijie, 'Colourful Lantern at the Shanghai Biennale', installation, 2010.

Since it’s beginnings in 1996, the Shanghai Biennale has grown, of course, in size, boasting a greater number of attending galleries and audience members each year as well as being a platform for some of the biggest name artists in the international art world. But has all this growth resulted in a loss of curatorial focus? This year, reports The New York Times, is the first year since before the 2000 Biennale that the event has been led by an all-Chinese curatorial team.

Working under the theme ‘Rehearsal’, the team has attempted to restore the place of the Biennale as a support network for artist creativity.

“The exhibition – once art’s autonomous enclave in the public domain – has turned into a hub for production, exposition and consumption of global capital….

For the 8th Shanghai Biennale, ‘Rehearsal’ is not a metaphor for a form of exhibition, but a way of thinking and operating strategy. What the Biennale aims to achieve is to invite a wide range of participants – artists, curators, critics, collectors, museum directors, and members of the audience – to rehearse in the Biennale, a fertile theatre to reflect on the relations between art experimentation and the art system, between individual creativity and the public domain.”

Looking at the images in this post, do you think the Biennale lived up to it’s curatorial aims for 2010? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Qiu Zhijie, 'Colourful Lantern at the Shanghai Biennale', installation, 2010. Image courtesy of Rachel Marsden and Richard Warren.

Qiu Zhijie, 'Colourful Lantern at the Shanghai Biennale', installation, 2010.

Visit Qiu Zhijie’s site for more on this artist.

Verdensteatret, ‘And all the questionmarks started to sing’, electro-mechnical installations, 2010. Image courtesy of Rachel Marsden and Richard Warren.

Verdensteatret, ‘And all the questionmarks started to sing’, electro-mechnical installations, 2010.

“A composition in the form of a hybrid between installation, performance and concert. A transparent though complex work with an overwhelming richness to detail. It might be described as an art-machine played by musicians, performers and robots.  The work demonstrates a fascination for all kinds of animation – this strange and somewhat miraculous activity of breeding life into dead objects, stiff figures and frozen images. As a spectator you witness the actual creation of moving images at several levels.”

Click here to visit Verdensteatret’s website.

Yuki Onodera, ‘Transvest Series’, photography, 2010.

Yuki Onodera, ‘Transvest Series’, photography, 2010.

“Yuki Onodera’s subjects seem suspended in uncertainty as she hums a gentle tune: ‘The moon sways to my song, and my shadow stumbles after me.'”

Read about Japanese photographer Yuki Onodera on Lens Culture.

Michael Lee, ‘Monuments to everything else, book sculptures’, 2010.

Michael Lee, ‘Monuments to everything else', book sculptures, 2010.

“Each volume isolates and focuses on one architectural component, such as column, pile, staircase, wall, foundation, beam, roof, celing, floor, room, window, door, and metalwork as a site to deliberate and reflect on salient issues extending beyond it’s structural function in the building to which it is attached.”

Read a biography on artist-curator Michael Lee here.

JR, 'Wrinkles of the City', photographs and installation, 2010.

JR, 'Wrinkles of the City', photographs and installation, 2010.

“JR is a mystery: No one seems to know his real name, or what he looks like, or how he makes his photographs so big. Yet as he goes about carefully protecting his aura of mystery, his work is mounting a sustained visual and psychological assault on the public.”

Click here for more on French photographer JR.

In the foreground: Wu Shanzhuan, ‘d=mr2’, installation, 2010. In the background: MadeIn Company, ‘Must Act’, installation, 2010.

In the foreground: Wu Shanzhuan, ‘d=mr2’, installation, 2010. In the background: MadeIn Company, ‘Must Act’, installation, 2010.

“Let’s abandon this model of an individual artist thinking and creating; let’s think and create as a company.”

Click here to read the article we published on MadeIn Company in June this year and here to link to The Saatchi Gallery’s information on Wu Shanzhuan.

Liu Qingyuan, ‘I saw, couldn't tell, but came to mind...’, lightbox installation, 2010.

Liu Qingyuan, ‘I saw, couldn't tell, but came to mind...’, lightbox installation, 2010.

Read more about on Liu Qingyuan on his website.

Liu Wei, ‘Merely a Mistake...II’, installation, 2010.

Liu Wei, ‘Merely a Mistake...II’, installation, 2010.

“Liu Wei collected old and used timber in the demolition site, and then mounted [the timber] to construct his structuralist installation. His design without function is closed, connecting with the daytime in his studio. ‘For me the studio is a way of working, not a kind of space. In the studio, everything is connected. It’s difficult to separate one piece from another; they are all linked together. I think the relationship between me and all of these pieces is more important…. To fit these things into this space, I piece them together, attach them, even scoop out holes. Anything in this area will be sucked in and will generate meaning, and when that happens, the so-called artwork is diluted, and even disappears.’”

The Saatchi Gallery has more information on Liu Wei.

Mou Boyan, ‘Fat Series’, sculpture, 2010.

Mou Boyan, ‘Fat Series’, sculpture, 2010.

“Mou’s performers and subject matter [are] bony black dogs, lazy white cats, steaming buns and hot coals. What’s impressive is that the dogs and cats seem to be breathing. We may even ask if they are alive. Of course, they look alive, but the virtual setting clearly tells us that they are part of a scene. The combination of reality and illusion has been a source of fun in the world of art. In fact, the true performers in the virtual world are close to our life, though they look so far away.”

There is some information on Mou Boyan at ARTLINKART.

All images courtesy of Rachel Marsden and Richard Warren.

RM/KN

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