The 7th Shanghai Biennale 2008 Concluded Today
I saw the 7th Shanghai Biennale (2008) just two days before it concluded today after it had opened on September 9 this year. Some of the works by Chinese artists - at the conceptual level and sometimes the scale of the artworks - was quite exciting, but by and large the show was not as mind-blowing as I had expected it to be.
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, the curatorial team of the 2008 edition proposes to give the People’s Square (Rénmín Guăngchăng) a central role in the exhibition. According to the curators, this public square seems to contain on a small-scale level a lot of crucial issues that the current Chinese society faces today.
About twenty emerging and established artists have been invited to create new artworks, taking the People's Square as visual metaphor for the complex dynamics of the people’s mobility. Their work will be displayed on various media within and outside of the museum, which is actually part of the square.
The galleries on the mezzanine floor will host an additional exhibition about the history of the People's Square since the beginning of the 20th Century.
The second part of the main exhibition at the Shanghai Art Museum will feature solo-shows of three prominent artists, reflecting on "mobility related to the urban, economical and social developments".
On the third floor another twenty artists will be showing mostly existing works which reflect on the theme of the exhibition, but in this case using non-Shanghai related contexts.
There will also be biennial artworks exhibited at other public spaces, such as the international airport and the main train station.