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Shanghai Biennale 2004, 29 September - 28 November 2004
Press Release of the Shanghai Art Museum, March 2004

shanghai 5 biennale
Techniques of the Visible

The Shanghai Art Museum has announced the Shanghai Biennale 2004, its subject and the curatorial team. Organized by the Shanghai Art Museum, the Shanghai Biennale will be open the 28th of September 2004 and it will run until the 28th of November. The Biennale will take place as in previous years, at the Shanghai Art Museum, and it will be this year extended to other venues.

Continuing this commitment to contemporary artistic practice, the theme of the 2004 Shanghai Biennale, Ying Xiang Sheng Cun, "Techniques of the Visible", will focus on the close relationship between art, science, and technology, in particular how art has revealed the interdependent social and political forces that produce and subject technology and humanity. Taken from the ancient Chinese terminology of ying and xiang, the concept emerges from an interest in the visual products of modern technology that retain critical historical and emotive references. Ying Xian Sheng Cun suggests that artistic practice engaging with ‘technology’ is inherently placing itself within a historical continuum, where cultural metaphor becomes critical to its understanding.

This year’s Biennale will be curated by Xu Jiang, President, China Academy of Art (China), Zheng Shengtian, Independent Curator (Canada), Sebastián López, Director, Gate Foundation (Netherlands), and Zhang Qing, Director, Shanghai Biennale’s Office (China). Bringing film, photography, video, installation and performance together, the curators will focus on the diversity contemporary practice from Asia, South America, Africa, Europe and North America. The Biennale will draw crucial relations between contemporary art and historical precedents, revealing the interconnected and interdependent nature of art that engages technology. Reiterating the diversity of artists participating, the Biennale is committed to also showcasing a range of contemporary media including painting, sculpture and photography, interactive technologies, video and digital art, and performance. To critically engage the theme of the Biennale, a symposium will also be held, bringing together contemporary artists, curators and theorists.

Large exhibitions such as the Biennale provide not only an important moment for the display of contemporary art production, but are also forums where artists can meet, challenge their own work and expand their experience. In addition, the Biennale provides the opportunity for a truly international exchange of ideas. Bringing together artists, curators, writers, theorists and art supporters from around the world, the Biennale presents a critical space of dialogue within an increasingly global art market. The presence of the Biennale in Shanghai only foregrounds the increasingly important role of artistic production in the Asia-Pacific region.

History of the Biennale

It has been ten years since the launch of the Shanghai Biennale in 1994. Seen as critical to the healthy development of the Chinese art scene, the Shanghai Biennale has established Shanghai as a city capable of serving as a place for the convergence of international contemporary art. The City of Shanghai is the city where the most interesting and challenging developments of modern art has taken place in China in the 20th Century, a role the Biennale stress and continue.
The 3rd Shanghai Biennale Shanghai Spirit, held in 2000, invited international curators and artists for the first time to participate, and defined itself as a global event for contemporary art. The subsequent 4th Shanghai Biennale in 2002 Urban Creation displayed 300 art works from all over the world. More than 20 artists and architects produced site-specific works, and the International Student Works' Show, with the works of more than one hundred Chinese and foreign students took place in the former Shanghai Art Museum building. This was the first exhibition to combine visual art and architecture in China.


Curatorial Team

Xu Jiang was born in Fujian, China. He is currently the President of China Academy of Art, and the Vice Chairman of Chinese Artists Association. As a practicing artist he held one-man show in Berlin, Hong Kong and Hamburg. His work also exhibited in the first Guangzhou Triennial (2002), the 14the Asian International Art Exhibition (1999), The 24th San Paolo Biennale (1998), the 1st Shanghai Biennale (1996) and the 1st Asian Pacific Triennial (1993). He curated and contributed to the international events such as The Living in Time (Berlin) and Edge of the Earth – Migration of Asian Contemporary Art and Regional Politics (Tokyo, Bangkok, Istanbul, Teheran, Hangzhou).

Sebastián López was born in Argentina. He is currently the Director/Artistic Director of the Gate Foundation, Amsterdam. He taught at the Art History Institutes of Amsterdam and Leiden University. He has curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions including East International; The Democracy Show; Talking Back to the Media; A City-A World; Art > Work > Nature; Not a Chinese Show and A Short History of Dutch Video Art in Amsterdam (the later was toured to San José, Madrid and Zagreb). He has also contributed to exhibitions such as Latin American Artists in Europe. Creativity Between Cultures, 1945-1982, (Venice). He is the editor of Van het Post-Modernisme (On Post-Modernism) and Talking Back to the Media, among others. He is also a contributor, among others, of Third Text, London; Camera Austria, Vienna, Lápiz, Madrid; Kunstforum and Neue Bildende Kunst, Berlin.

Zheng Shengtian was born in China and taught at the China Academy of Art. He is currently the Managing Editor of an English magazine Yishu – Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art (published in Taipei), and a Board member of the Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. As an independent curator his curatorial work in recent years includes Jiangnan – Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art Exhibitions (Vancouver), The Art of Proletarian Cultural Revolution (Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg), and Shanghai Modern (Munich). He has contributed frequently to periodicals and catalogues of contemporary Chinese and Asian art. He was the Vice Director of the Academic Committee for the 2nd Shanghai Biennale and Committee member of the 4th Shanghai Biennale.

Zhang Qing was born in Suzhou, China. He is currently a Curator of the Shanghai Art Museum and the head of Shanghai Biennale’s Office. He was chosen as one of the "Best Curators in China" in 2000 by CCTV and other 49 Media organizations. Amongst the exhibitions he curated or co-curated are CityNet Asia 2003 (Seoul), Art of Cai Guoqiang (Shanghai), Junction – Architectural Experiment of Contemporary Chinese Art (Shanghai). As a member of the Editorial Board of Art China, a bi-monthly periodical, he has frequently contributed essays and interviews on contemporary Chinese art and has published a book Chinese Art, 1990-1992. He was the co-curator of the Third Shanghai Biennale.


Shanghai Art Museum
325 West Nanjing Road
200003 China

For more information please contact Ms. Hua Yi at the Office of the Shanghai Biennale
Tel: 86-21-63274896, or 63272829-ext. 258
Fax: 86-21-63272425, or 63272429
E-mail: info@shanghaibiennale.org; sh-artmuseum@mail.online.sh.cn


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