Critics selection on the Shanghai Biennale
发起人:art-pa-pa  回复数:4   浏览数:3810   最后更新:2011/12/17 21:53:44 by uggonsale
[楼主] art-pa-pa 2010-11-02 15:24:19


14 years ago, in 1996, the Shanghai Biennale was held for the first time, at that time only oil paintings by Chinese artists were presented. However, it still constituted a big step in the Chinese contemporary art scene as it was an ‘official’ recognition of contemporary art in China. Nevertheless, the main turn happened in year 2000, the third Shanghai biennale, curated by Hou Hanru, where exhibited works by local and international artists included installations, videos, and other medium. Chinese contemporary art wasn’t an underground deal anymore but an international affair. That year, main exhibitions such as “Fuck off” co-curated by Ai Weiwei, was held in other places in Shanghai, showing wild and powerful works.

Every two years, the Shanghai biennale has been held attracting more and more people. In the fast economic, social development background, the Biennale became more and more fashionable attracting people from the art scene, but also people who didn’t know anything about contemporary art a few years earlier. As an official event, an official museum, it still involved all the power conflict that any organization of this kind implies here, sometime directly influencing the choice of the curators. Although becoming very popular, the quality of the shows remained limited, and not always representative of the art scene in Shanghai. This year’s biennale still confront the same technical and organization issues, but is probably still better than two years ago. Let’s see what some people of the art world in China think about it:

(Selection of comments left on art-ba-ba and weibo - equivalent of twitter in China)

Reply 1
Before when an exhibition was held, everyone went to a building, into a “big box”, artists considered then that they had to present their works in this “big box”, this kind of method was called “exhibition”. However, this time, Ho Chi Minh Trail, Long March Space, West Heavens, don’t belong to the traditional concept of “artwork”, these art projects started long time ago, and include touring activities, talks, symposiums, video projections, etc, in other words, nowadays many artists left the “box” and created more possibilities, however, even more people still want to go to the “box” to see works, to go to the Shanghai Art Museum to see works. Did the Shanghai Biennale present these new “possibilities” created by the artists? Did the exhibiting way follow the contemporary art development?

Reply 2
Shanghai Biennale should be seen under two different levels: curators’ one and a conservative one. The biennale was supposed to get rid of some standard rules, therefore I expected quite a lot from it. I thought there would be some differences between the 1st and 2nd floor. For example, before I see an exhibition in Long March Space, I would also have some expectations: Ho Chi Minh Trail presented another language used by the artists, who went to other countries to communicate with local people. I thought that this would bring some new things, that it would change some of the inner system. But when I went to the Shanghai Biennale, I was indeed disappointed, I didn’t see what I expected, it was still ineffective, was it eaten by the space? Or by the system? Or by the biennale itself? I think that the Biennale’s main issue causes and consequences are confused, and things that should be put at the back have been places at the forefront, many things have been reversed such as the artists’ and curators’ wills. I think that the theme was decided in a hurry, many things were hurried and not thought, not like the Guangzhou triennial few years ago.

Reply 3
I guess that this is the last Shanghai biennale worth seeing.

Reply 4
Artists always expect too much from the Shanghai Biennale, but in fact it is only an assortment of works…

Reply 6
What if you were the one doing it? Critics should also be relevant, providing a solution is even harder
If you want to talk lightly, you need credibility
How to know/practice, how to get rid of the system
How to make a rebellion, how to rebel against oneself/against international rules, how many dishes have different taste
Let’s think about it
If the biennale should be continued, what should we do?
If the biennale isn’t continued, what solution could we give so everyone could play together?
To make a revolution you need a direction/a solution
You need knowledge

Reply 9
This exhibition doesn’t have any stimulating aspect, each version isn’t renewed, there are only fake themes.
It’s worse than Yokohama, Gwangju and worse than ShanghArt Warehouse’s exhibition and the Courier exhibition.
I already saw the show going from Vietnam, to India then going to Beijing, it is already good enough.
Shanghai can only queue behind.

Reply 10
Someone in front of Qiu Zhijie’s work: “If it really is someone who has knowledge, he should use his knowledge somewhere else.

Reply 11
Someone in front of Zhang Huan’s artwork: “If it really is someone who has money, he should use his money somewhere else.

Reply 16
Some works are really bad, like Zhang Huan’s one, or Ma Liang’s one, who moved a whole room into the exhibition place, these ideas are so old already. In his previous works “Fat white”, Liu Xiaodong was guided by his inspiration, he observed, experimented, and “Fat white” made sense. But his recent works, Beichuan, Earthquake, children with smiling faces, are closer to the way of thinking of journalists, NGO, there are very moral and very safe.

Reply 17
I went to the biennale today, the 2nd floor was awesome.

Reply 21
On the opening of the biennale, many viewers had a “don’t understand” reaction. An art professional was interviewed by a journalist on his thought, he answered: “The Emperor’s New Clothes!” The biennale has always been a bit “hard to understand”, particularly this time. Even for the people of the art field it’s quite a headache, not to mention for amateurs.

Reply 23
Participating artist (Beijing) Liu Wei: “For me, the studio is a kind of method and not a form.” “In the studio, everything is related. It is hard to clearly distinguish the borders between them, I think that philosophy and food’s relation to me are more important.” All these objects, assembled, dissembled, were all meant to fit in this space.

Reply 24
Today’s creating seeds are at the base of tomorrow’s large production. The so-called “Contemporary art godfather” Li Xianting even went to the opening of Wang Jinsong exhibition, but left right afterwards, showing that he had nothing to do with the biennale. Although he's getting tired, he still follows the works of the young artists he gets to meet, when he talks about the contemporary art situation, he considers that many phenomena remain the same, it is still very unstable.

Reply 25
I saw the Shanghai biennale, performances hold a large place, but without having the feeling that there have been “rehearsed”, there are a few works that I like, for example, Liu Wei’s installation, a daily life objects assemblage, I also like RAQS’ work, the languages and concepts, it was very interesting. Tang Hui’s work on paper was the best one, he really draws well.

Reply 26
Only ten years have passed, and powerful satellite exhibitions such as “Fuck Off” are definitively gone.

Reply 27
I had a glance at the Shanghai Biennale, nothing new, only already seen things and copies…

Reply 28
What were are criticizing today isn’t only the Shanghai Biennale, but also the Beijing Biennale and the Guangzhou Triennial, as well as the control and power conspiracy of a few countries’ art museums behind, one can say that this is the biggest position in contemporary art, I think that some people can see what the Fujian people are trying to control? (head of the China Academy of Art, curator Fan Di’An and artist Qiu Zhijie… are from the Fujian province)

Reply 31
Many people say that the work of Norwegian artists Verdensteatret was good, but I think there’s not much difference with Zhang Huan’s work, they are all creating a kind of landscape, enchanting people, but this doesn’t make contemporary art move forward.

Reply 35
Qiu Zhijie painted a classic Chinese painting on the wall, then reproduced some of the objects in real, this is a very simple illustration, by the end it became a playground.

Reply 36
Qiu Zhijie has a high IQ, you shouldn’t see Qiu Zhijie as someone very simple. You shouldn’t just watch one work, but the whole line of thoughts. I guess, that he wants to create a world, he’s very ambitious, he doesn’t only want to do an artwork or an exhibition but a whole system, in this world, he has all the things you have, he has all the things you don’t have. His “Changjiang bridge project”, “Contemporary art lessons” all belong to that. If you look at his work, on one side it is about archeology on the other it is about futurism, in the middle it’s an education system, what he draw on the wall isn’t a simple sketch, but a blueprint. All the performers on site are his students, why? How are the thoughts of Socrates, Confucius, Zhu Xi, Wang Yangming diffused? Their students learned their thinking, and spread it around. Qiu Zhijie’s education system also comes from there, his students will go to different art spaces and spread his thought.

Reply 37
I really didn’t see where it was good, I’m really not interested in going there a second time, hope that those who understood could explain to me.