Theme

Our era sees an unprecedented scale of urban growth, especially in the developing world. In this process, cities grow in number, urban populations increase in size, and the proportion of the population living in urban areas rises. Urbanization is often the result of socio-economic development as an agricultural society transitions to a modern one. The theme of the 2010 Shanghai World Exposition, “Better city, better life”,? testifies to the importance of the reform and urban development agenda to China’s rise in the twenty-first century.

The curatorial team of the 2008 edition proposes to focus on people and their conditions in the dynamic urban space. The Biennale reflects on the socio-economic and cultural implications of urbanization on both the local and global levels, including the issues of migration and identity. It investigates the spatial and social boundaries between the rural and urban populations, migrants and citizens, guests and hosts. Is the fruitful interaction between them possible? Can cities make our life better?

Curators

Artistic Director – Zhang Qing (China)

Born 1964 in Suzhou, China, Zhang Qing serves as Deputy Director of Shanghai Art Museum and Director of the Shanghai Biennale Office. He is a Ph.D. candidate at the China Academy of Art and a member of the CIMAM. Since 1989 he has been a regular contributor to numerous leading Chinese journals including Jiangsu Pictorial, Art Monthly, Dushu, Avant-garde Today and Shanghai Culture. He served as the editor-in-chief of Chinese Art of the 1990s. In 2000, he was named one of the “top curators in China” by China’s national TV station the CCTV and other fifty media organizations.

His major curatorial projects include the Art of Fang Lijun (Shanghai, 2007), the Sixth Shanghai Biennale (Shanghai, 2006), the Tenth Venice Sculpture Exhibition (Venice, 2007), the Seventh San Paulo International Architecture Biennial (San Paulo, 2007), the Art of Chen Zhen (Shanghai, 2006), the Art of Yan Peiming (Shanghai, 2005), the Fifth Shanghai Biennale (2004), Interpreting the Modern: The Exhibition of Paintings from the Amsterdam Art Museum’s Collection (Amsterdam; Shanghai; Singapore, 2003), Junction: Architectural Practices in Chinese Contemporary Art (Shanghai, 2003), Red China: An Exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art (Gwangju, 2002), City_net Asia (Seoul, 2003), Cai Guoqiang (Shanghai, 2001), Expressions of Contemporary China (Singapore, 2001), and the Third Shanghai Biennale (Shanghai, 2000).

Curator – Henk Slager (Netherlands)

Born 1960. Studied philosophy, art history and general literature at both the University of Amsterdam and Amsterdam’s Free University. In 1989, he earned a Ph.D. (University of Amsterdam) writing an art philosophical thesis entitled Fomalistic Temperament. From 1989 to 1993, he was involved in a post-doc project researching the foundations of art and cultural science for Brussels’ Free University. In 1993 he established the Global Vernunft Foundation, which organizes and executes projects (exhibitions, symposia, graduate teaching programs, publications) concerning the interface of philosophy and contemporary art. Since 1994 Henk Slager has been tutor at the Curatorial Training Programme at De Appel Foundation in Amsterdam. From 1998-2004, he was a board member (Ass. Secretary General) of the International Association of Aesthetics and professor of Art Theory at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts (HISK, Antwerp). Currently Henk Slager is dean of the Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design (MaHKU) and its professor of Artistic Research. He is on the board of Earn (European Network for Artistic Research).

Recent curatorial projects include: Demirrorized Zone (De Appel, Amsterdam, 2003), Busan Biennial (curator Theory Program, 2004), The Intermedial Zone (Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam 2005), DARE (Dutch Artistic Research Event, several locations, Utrecht 2006), Shelter 07 (The Freedom of Public Art in the Cover of Urban Space, Harderwijk 2007), Flash Cube (Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, 2007).

Curator – Julian Heynen(Germany)

Born 1951. Studied art history and literature, Ph. D. thesis on Barnett Newman’s writings on art. Worked at several museums for modern and contemporary art, notably at Museum Haus Lange and Museum Haus Esters in Krefeld (Germany) and since 2001 as artistic director of K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf (Germany). Commissioner of the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2003 and 2005.

Curated numerous exhibitions of contemporary art, among others Bruce Nauman, “c/o Haus Esters”, Thomas Schütte, Zvi Goldstein, Katharina Fritsch, “Anderer Leute Kunst”, Lawrence Weiner, Franz West, Andreas Gursky, Jean-Marc Bustamente, “Weitersehen”, Juan Mu.oz, Richard Deacon, Thomas Struth, Miroslaw Balka, Lothar Baumgarten, Luc Tuymans, Bethan Huws, Alan McCollum, René Daniels, Gregor Schneider, Christine und Irene Hohenbüchler, Rosemarie Trockel, Stan Douglas, “Niemandsland”, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Gerhard Richter, Thomas Ruff, Christopher Wiliams, Daniel Richter, Rodney Graham, Julian Opie, Candida H.fer, Darren Almond, “Ambiance”, Martin Kippenberger, Thomas Scheibitz, Tino Sehgal, Jeroen de Rijke / Willem de Rooij.

Numerous texts on these and other artists and subjects of art after 1960.

Assistant Curator – Xiang Liping (China)

Born 1976 in Wenzhou, China, Xiang Liping obtained her M.A. in Art History from the Department of Art History and Theory, the China Academy of Art. She was a lecturer at the Zhejiang Normal University. Currently she works as a curator and coordinator in the Shanghai Biennale Office, the Shanghai Art Museum. She has been involved in various curatorial projects, including the 2006 Shanghai Biennale, the Exhibition of Paintings by Lu Fusheng (Shanghai,2007), Infantization (Shanghai, 2007/Taipei, 2008), and My China, My Life: The Art of Alan Chan (Shanghai, 2007).

Assistant Curator – Li Ning (China)

Born in 1980 in Changzhou, Jiangsu Province, China, Li Ning graduated from the Art History Department, the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2002. Currently she works as a curator in the Academic Department, the Shanghai Art Museum. She has been involved in many curatorial projects, including 2002 Shanghai Biennale (Shanghai, 2002), Metaphysics 2003 (Shanghai, 2003), Humanism in China: A Contemporary Record of Phot (Shanghai, 2004), Metaphysics 2005 (Shanghai, 2005), Dreaming of the Dragon’s Nation: Contemporary Art Exhibition from China (Dublin, 2004), Paris à Shanghai:Trois Générations De Photographes Fran.ais(Shanghai, 2005, Nouvelles vagues: Un point de vue sur l’art fran.ais contemporain à partir des collections du Musée National d’art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou(Shanghai, 2005, Walk On: A Liverpool Exhibition for the 6th Shanghai Biennale (Shanghai, 2006).

Venue

Shanghai Art Museum is located in the center of the city, covering an area of 18000 square meters. It is an English-style building set up in 1930s, which was originally the race club.