Shanghai Biennale 2004: Techniques of the Visible
29 September - 28 November 2004
Shanghai Art Museum
Curators: Xu Jiang, Sebasti?n L?pez, Zheng Shengtian, Zhang Qing
Since its first edition in 1994, the Shanghai Biennale has been China's first and foremost international exhibition for contemporary art. Continuing this commitment to contemporary artistic practice, the theme of the 2004 Shanghai Biennale is Ying Xiang Sheng Cun or "Techniques of the Visible". The exhibit and related symposiums 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.
Gu Xiong, I am Shanghainese, 2004, photo installation
By bringing together the work of more than 120 artists from Asia, Africa, North America, Latin America and Europe, the curators have worked towards a diversity of approaches to technology, revealed both through the number of artist's projects exhibited and the variety of sites in which these installations are located.
The exhibition space of the Shanghai Art Museum is divided into five areas, focusing on projects dealing with spaces of visual production and consumption: the film studio, the dark room, the theatre, the painting studio and the cinema. In the Museum, the contemporary practices range from traditional forms to photography and film.
To emphasize the multiple interrogations by artists towards technology by bringing together practices from around the world, the curators of the 2004 Biennale have expanded beyond the main venue of the Shanghai Museum. The dispersal of these projects in the public spaces outside the Museum reveals an effort made by the curators to highlight a multifaceted approach to the theme of the Biennale.
In the People's Park, located beside the Museum, more than ten installation spaces will be constructed to act as Media Houses for projects that investigate the relationship between technology and human action. The works exhibited here will utilize every possible new media method.
A more historical dimension of the theme of the Biennale will be investigated in an exhibition geared towards the establishment of a Museum of Chinese Photography in Shanghai. The exhibition will look at the development of photography in simultaneity with the emergence of Modernism in China. Pictures and captions representing historical documents of Chinese photography will be displayed in a corridor of more than 100 meters in length, set up in the People's Park.
Press Release of the Shanghai Art Museum, March 2004
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.
I am Shanghainese, 2004
Detail, photo installation