“The flow and flush of waters sustain our own bodies, but also connect them to other bodies, to other worlds beyond our human selves.”
The Power Station of Art (PSA) is delighted to announce the culmination of the 13th Shanghai Biennale, Bodies of Water. Its main exhibition PHASE 03: AN EXHIBITION opens on April 17, 2021, with 64 participating artists presenting projects, including 33 new commissions, at the PSA and other venues across Shanghai.
To challenge the traditional biennale format and explore the participant-public divide, the Biennale is unfolding over the course of nine months as an in crescendo project. It began in November 2020 with PHASE 01: *A* WET-RUN REHEARSAL, a five-day inaugural program, and was followed by PHASE 02: AN ECOSYSTEM OF ALLIANCES, five months of activity and programing. This allowed the artists, thinkers and curators involved in the Biennale to develop their work in close collaboration with the...City of Shanghai, its people, networks of activism, organizations, and institutions.
From bodies to other bodies, climates, ecosystems and technologies, all life forms are inextricably interconnected and interdependent. Bodies of Water asks us to examine this living collectivity at a time when the earth is facing unprecedented challenges, from the accelerating climate crisis to the current global pandemic. The participating artists and collectives present artworks that explore caring-based approaches which negotiate our entanglement in extended ecosystems of interdependency. A significant number of these works, 33 in total, have been specifically commissioned and conceived for the space and times of the Biennale.
Alberto Baraya; Ana Mendieta; Antoni Muntadas*; Astrida Neimanis*; Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor; Clare Britton*; Ayesha Tan Jones*; Cao Minghao and Chen Jianjun*; Carlos Casas*; Carlos Irijalba*; Cecilia Vicuña; Cheng Xinyi; Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe); Dai Chenlian*; Debajo del Sombrero (participating artists: Andrés Fernández, José Manuel Egea, Miguel García, María Lapastora and Belén Sánchez); Diakron and Emil Rønn Andersen*; Diane Severin Nguyen*; Feliciano Centurión; Guo Fengyi; Heather Phillipson*; Ibiye Camp*; Itziar Okariz*; Jenna Sutela; Joan Jonas*; Karrabing Film Collective; Kyriaki Goni*; Liam Young; Michael Wang*; Nerea Calvillo (C+arquitectas)*; P Staff in collaboration with Basse Stittgen*; Pepe Espaliú; Pu Yingwei*; ReUnion X DMAS*; Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen; Sun Xiaoxing, Qiu Zhen, Zhao Kunfang and Huang Siyao*; Tabita Rézaire; Torkwase Dyson*; Vera Frenkel; WORKac (Amale Andraos and Daniel Edward Wood); Zadie Xa and Benito Mayor Vallejo*; Zheng Mahler (Royce Ng and Daisy Bisenieks)
*Names with asterisks correspond to new commissions. Further artists to be announced at the press preview on April 15, 2021.
Bodies of Water, the exhibition, will be in dialogue with the history and geography of Shanghai, both a testament to our transspecies collectivity. It will unravel across the city, beginning at the PSA, a former coal-electric plant that fueled the industrialization of the Huangpu River, a cauldron of accelerated production and bodily mobilization. Beyond the PSA, the exhibition will expand to other important locations: the Sunke Villa at the Columbia Circle—one of the historical remnants of Shanghai’s colonial control of the environment, created from the drying of its original wetland ecosystem—and the former building of the Commercial Printing Factory—a publishing house where the school books used to unify knowledge across the country were printed.
The theme of the Biennale is intimately connected to Shanghai and the 5,000-meter descent of the East China Sea of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau’s meltwaters, located at the intersection of the Huangpu and the Yangtze Rivers, and in the vicinity of the human-made Jing-Hang Grand Canal. Particles dragged from up to 6,300 kilometers of sediment are metabolized by edible plants at the Yangtze Delta, China’s most fertile agricultural site. Mineral and organic matter, travelling suspended as bodies of water, is then rebodied, the flow of water reconstructing geographies and vitalizing organisms.
Chief Curator Andrés Jaque says: “The 13th Shanghai Biennale advocates for the momentous contribution that art plays in the reconstruction of a world shaped by environmental, social and political distress. The Biennale is sensitive to the way art constitutes and infiltrates life itself, and to its capacities for bodied reparation, transformation and dissidence”.
The Biennale has been unfolding since November 2020 in an in crescendo model, opening with PHASE 01: *A* WET-RUN REHEARSAL (November 10–14, 2020), a week-long summit in the form of a performative assembly in which contributors could present their work at the PSA and in a network of art spaces along the Yangtze River. PHASE 02: AN ECOSYSTEM OF ALLIANCES followed (November 15, 2020–April 16, 2021), a period of heightened activity in the run up to the main exhibition in which, acknowledging art’s interdependency with science, social constructs, technology, and modes of spirituality, the Biennale forged alliances with the historical School of Philosophy of the Fudan University, the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts, and with the students and faculty of 5 art schools in the city. Since its launch, it has also expanded through the networks of screens of the Shanghai Subway and through its online platform, with special episodes co-produced by Docu-TV and broadcast to the world through the Dragon TV Network and its Bilibili social networks. Overall, the biennale aims to challenge the contributor/public divide to understand the biennale as an “ecosystem of alliances,” installed in the infrastructures where life happens, and considering artists and audiences as co participants in processes of reconstruction.
Titled Bodies of Water and unfolding progressively over several months between 2020 and 2021, the 13th Shanghai Biennale will advocate for processes of planetary re-alliance. Considering how discharging, breathing, transfusing, flushing, menstruating, ejaculating, and decomposing are ways in which bodies exist together, beyond the confines of flesh and land, the Biennale will reflect on how collectivities are made tangible and bodied in wet-togetherness. It will convene artists to think beyond human-centered and nation-based narratives and to explore forms of fluid solidarity.
From cells to bodies, bodies to other bodies, pipes to gills, labs, climates, the Biennale will be inspired by transspecies alliances. It will rely on interconnection, interdependency, and entanglements: from the scale and time of a breath to the formation of ecosystems. At a moment when humanity is renegotiating its relationship to itself and other life forms, the Biennale will explore diverting forms of aqueousness, from the accelerating climate crisis to the current global pandemic, itself a testament to the inextricable interconnection of bodies.
This Biennale embraces Shanghai as a long-standing arena for liquefied territorial bodies. Shanghai’s history is intimately connected to the 5,000-meter descent of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau’s meltwaters. The Shanghai Biennale, the oldest art biennale in China, will ultimately scan its situation at the Power Station of Art, a former coal-electric plant that fueled the industrialization, the fluid economies and the infrastructural libido of the Huangpu River.
A nine-month “in crescendo” biennale
For the first time, the Shanghai Biennale will operate as a nine-month “in crescendo” project, conceived as a collective undertaking by artists, collectives, activists and institutions, and unfolding in three phases.
Phase 01: A Wet-Run Rehersal. November 10–14, 2020. A summit bringing together contributors to present their work in the form of a performative assembly taking place in the Power Station of Art’s Grand Hall and spreading out to networks of art spaces along the Yangtze River, as well as online.
Phase 02: An Ecosystem of Alliances. November 15, 2020–April 10, 2021. Keeping a permanent post at the Power Station of Art (PSA), the “in crescendo” project will make new associations with infrastructures where online/offline social and communal life are taking place. These include streaming TV channels, social media, university programs and serial interventions on urban dynamics.
PHASE 03: AN EXHIBITION. April 10–June 27, 2021. Opening with a festival, the Biennale will unfold into an exhibition that will run through PSA and expand into a series of locations along the Huangpu River and across the city of Shanghai.
In November 2019, with the support of the Academic Committee of the PSA, Andrés Jaque—a New York-based curator, architect and writer—was appointed chief curator of the 13th Shanghai Biennale. Jaque is director of the Advanced Architectural Design Program at Columbia University and founder of the Office for Political Innovation, which operates at the intersection of architecture and art, exploring how bodies, technologies, and environments converge in transspecies alliances. Jaque has invited an international team of curators and thinkers to work collectively in the development of the Biennale:
Marina Otero Verzier is an architect based in Rotterdam. The director of research at Het NieuweInstituut, she leads research initiatives such as Automated Landscapes and BURN-OUT. Exhaustion on a planetary scale.
Lucia Pietroiusti is curator of General Ecology at the Serpentine Galleries in London. Recent and upcoming projects include the long-term General Ecology Project, Back to Earth (the Serpentine’s 50th anniversary program dedicated to the environment), as well as Sun & Sea by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė.
YOU Mi is a curator and researcher at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Her interests focus on performance philosophy, science and technology studies, as well as new and historical materialism. She works with extremely ancient and futuristic technologies and networks.
Filipa Ramos is a writer and curator based in London. She is curator of Art Basel Film and co-founder of the artists’ cinema, Vdrome. She is a lecturer at Central Saint Martins and Basel’s Institut Kunst. Ramos’ research focuses on how art responds to ecological topics and fosters interspecies relationships across humans, non-humans, and machines.
Ramos will work as the Biennale’s head of research and publications.
Entrada actualizada el el 13 may de 2021
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