The 10th Shanghai Biennale

Curator Zhu Ye
Artists Zhou Tao、Zheng Guogu、Zhao Liang、Zhao Yannian、Yuan Wenshan、Yu Cheng Ta

City Pavilions of The 10th Shanghai Biennale

Theme: URBAN=Work & Shop
Curator: Zhu Ye
Venue: Shanghai Xintiandi, K11 Art Mall Shanghai, Minsheng Museum, Jingan Kerry Centre
Shanghai Xintiandi
Theme: Spectacle of the City
Time: December 12, 2014 to March 8, 2015
K11 Art Mall Shanghai
Theme: Mirror of Production
Time: December 19, 2014 to March 8, 2015


Minsheng Museum
Theme: Bionic Future
Time: January 17 to February 28, 2015


Jingan Kerry Centre
Theme: Urban Living Room
Time: January 25 to March 31, 2015

Since its inception, the Shanghai Biennale has not only presented the latest accomplishments in contemporary art to the world on an academic level, but has also established a platform for communication and exchange between contemporary art and the general public. For close to two decades, the Biennale and Shanghai have maintained an active and mutual relationship: after all, the Biennale was founded to showcase the city’s artistic vision, forward thinking and diversity. The 9th Shanghai Biennale in 2012 embedded itself within the city through projects such as “City Pavilions”, “Zhongshan Park Project” and the “Academy of Reciprocal Enlightenment”.

This edition continues the concept of City Pavilions under the theme “URBAN=Work & Shop”. City Pavilions insert the Biennale into the city’s public spaces, reflecting the reality of ongoing urbanization in China, proactively forging close connections with everyday life in the city and generating close bonds between individuals, artists, brands, artworks and various spaces. The theme breaks down the word “workshop” to reveal the processes of “production/consumption” in a city.

Huaihai Road is chosen for its cultural and commercial symbolism as the site for the City Pavilions, along with surrounding public spaces. By galvanizing this most dynamic of art corridors in Shanghai, the intense interactions between art, and spaces, brands, media and viewers, are activated through systematic nodes. Curated by Zhu Ye, the City Pavilions kick off in December 2014 and January 2015, with different exhibitions at Shanghai Xintiandi, K11 Art Mall Shanghai, Minsheng Museum and Jingan Kerry Centre. Under the umbrella URBAN=Work & Shop, the City Pavilions focus on the following themes: Spectacle of the City, Scene of Production, Bionic Future and the Urban Living Room.

1. Locality: Shanghai-style Experience Here and Now

Since the birth of the modern era, the 6 km stretch of Huaihai Road (formerly Avenue Joffre) has been Shanghai’s cultural centre, ceaselessly providing cultural sustenance for this foremost metropolis of the East.

From the founding of Shanghai up to 1949, this avenue – once dubbed the “Champs-Elysées of the Far East” – was regarded as Shanghai’s cultural hub. The shikumen architecture characteristic of Shanghai, distinctive French-style garden villas and signature skyscrapers – all are collected here. Also present are the former residences of important figures, as well as the site of the First Meeting of the Chinese Communist Party – the birthplace of the Chinese Communist Party.

Since the Reform and Opening Up, Huaihai Road has recovered its hustle and bustle, reclaiming its former glory. Now it has once again become an internationalized commercial district with high-end consumption, showcasing an urban savoir-faire distinctive in the entire country – modern, romantic and fashionable, youthful and dynamic, delicate and elegant.

The “URBAN=Work & Shop” City Pavilions of the 10th Shanghai Biennale will be scattered throughout Huaihai Road and its environs, encapsulating the historical essence of Shanghai’s century-long process of urbanization. By presenting works by young artists in trendy landmarks, this will bring out a most contemporary face, in tune with the spirit of the times, and reveal a trend setting and dynamic artistic ecology.

2. Rewriting: Contemporary Art Refashioning Urban Space

Urban spaces spring up organically but are also created through compromise. The economic processes of art and culture refashioning urban spaces are rewriting the role the city plays within the country and the world it belongs to. Even though the position of art and culture plays second fiddle in contemporary society, its quiet potential for compromise cannot be overlooked. Art and culture can be said to remedy everyday life; by actively intervening in the city and society, art and culture confer utterly new meanings to existing spaces. This accurately explains the intervention of “URBAN=Work & Shop” into society, realizing and applying the main theme of The 10th Shanghai Biennale: Social Factory.

3. Spatial Set-up: Showcasing Three Spatial Features of the Modern City

(1) Spaces of Consumption: K11 Art Mall Shanghai and Jingan Kerry Center

“The consumer society is the prime characteristic of the modern city.” – Jean Baudrillard

The culture of consumption serves as the founding stone of everyday life and experience in the contemporary city, while the shopping center is a space where one engages in commercial exchange and a public space for people. In Shanghai’s K11 Art Mall and Jingan Kerry Centre – spaces with some of the densest footfall – contemporary art will accomplish its social mission to the greatest degree: tempering an unvarying consumption experience and economic rationality with rich sensorial and perceptive experiences.

The K11 Art Mall Shanghai takes “Mirror of Production” as its theme, which references Jean Baudrillard’s work The Mirror of Production. The exhibition, through the organization of contemporary artworks, explores the relationship between the production mode of “organization-ification” versus organic modes of production – their contrasts, contradictions, conflicts and fusion. The Jingan Kerry Centre, on the other hand, will have the “Urban Living Room” as its exhibition theme. With containers as a medium, artists construct an artistic “home” in public urban space, reflecting on the mutual relations and transformations between public space and private life.

(2) Spaces of Culture: Shanghai Minsheng Museum

“Art is no longer just unique, sacred objects of worship in aristocratic palaces or museums.” – Walter Benjamin

The museum is a historical product of advanced capitalism. They were first the sites for the wealthy elite to show off their riches and power, and then they gradually turned towards the public;they have become an important and critical factor in evaluating the quality of modern urban civilization. At the same time, they have also taken up social functions like cultural education and popularization. In Shanghai, Minsheng Museum and the Aurora Museum have gained a good reputation in the art world for their public education programs and exhibitions

(3) Spaces for Leisure: Shanghai Xintiandi

“A culture of leisure is an important element in the machinery of the city.” – Lewis Mumford

Leisure is the mother of culture. The role of leisure and entertainment, for overworked urbanites, cannot be overlooked. At the same time, it can also stimulate a city’s culture and forge a city’s personality. Xintiandi has systematically accomplished the elegant transformation in the urban visage of Shanghai with an embracing attitude – transforming from shikumen (historical) to zones of leisure (fashionable), cutting through indoor space (shopping centers, restaurants, cafes) and outdoor spaces (green spaces and the artificial lake).

Shanghai Xintiandi takes as its theme the “Spectacle of the City”, with the aim of exploring, within the environment of the contemporary city, the changes affected on the spectacle of the city through such modes as production, consumption, living, action, and so forth. This also includes the new possibilities brought about by such changes between people, city, and even the environment. This exhibition will be the first off-site exhibition to open for this edition of the Shanghai Biennale City Pavilions, featuring numerous domestic and international artworks and including public art, video, installation and body art.

4. Strands of Time: Blooming and Booming

The vitality of art exhibitions is not merely limited to the opening day. Despite the “overture” of successful openings, only by maintaining a stream of events could the art exhibitions be granted a dynamic vitality.

The Shanghai Xintiandi, K11 Art Mall Shanghai, Minsheng Museum and Jingan Kerry Centre will hold openings successively from December 2014 to January 2015 along Huaihai Road and surroundings. They will be like flowers blooming one after the other, giving the “URBAN=Work & Shop” City Pavilions of the 10th Shanghai Biennale a sense of constantly being in progress. During the entire exhibition period, there will be public programmes throughout this moving feast – their topicality will intensely heighten the awareness of the Shanghai Biennale among the general public over an extended period, leaving behind an unforgettable journey through the city in art.


Magical theater in K11

in Shanghai Minsheng Museum

in Shanghai Xintiandi

Thematic Exhibition of The 10th Shanghai Biennale

Venue: Power Station of Art
Chief curator: Anselm Franke
Co-curators: Freya Chou, Cosmin Costinas, Liu Xiao
Curator for the Film program: Hila peleg
Curator for the Music Program: Nicholas Bussmann

Artists: Yan Jun, Liu Ding, Zhao Liang, Zhou Tao, Keywords Lab, Trevor Yeung, Firenze Lai, Gao Shiqiang, Li Xiaofei, Zheng Guogu, He Xiangyu, Huang Ran, Hu Liu, Zhao Yannian, Sun Xun, Liu Chuang, Yun-Fei Ji, Ten Miles Inn/ David Crook & Isabel Crook, The Imagine Park/ Yuan Wenshan, Wang Ziyue, Li Xiuqin, Huang Wenhai, Wang Bing, Huang Ming-chuang, Chen Chieh-jen, Yin-Ju Chen, Musquiqui Chihying, Hou Chun-ming, Yu Cheng-ta, Neïl Beloufa, Narimane Mari, Peter Ablinger, Peter Friedl, Martin Beck, Nadia Myre, Susan Schüppli, Adrian Melis, Aleksandra Domanović, Harun Farocki, K.P. Brehmer, Nicholas Bussmann, Jutta Koether, Loretta Fahrenholz, Tibor Hajas, Shambhavi Kaul, Ashish Avikunthak, CAMP (Shaina Anand & Ashok Sukumaran), Natascha Sadr Haghighian/ Uwe Schwarzer/ Robbie Williams, Péter Dobai, Armin Linke, Ko Sakai & Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Carlos Amorales, Willem de Rooij, Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor, Anton Vidokle, Ming Wong, Erik Steinbrecher, Tang Chang, Stephen Willats, Art & Language, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Suzanne Treister, Edgar Arceneaux, Jen Liu, Louise Lawler, Joseph Cornell, Ken Jacobs, Sharon Lockhart, Daria Martin, Adam Avikainen, Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel, J.P. Sniadecki & Libbie Dina Cohn, Ho Tzu Nyen, Tyler Coburn


[Fiction] is the one and only way to transcend worldly life...Since we are in contact with fiction everyday, its quality affects us just as the air we breathe and the food we eat; if the air is polluted or the food contaminated, those who live in this environment will certainly languish, fall sick, meet with tragic death, or fall into moral degeneration.

         ——Liang Qichao, On the Relationship between Fiction and the Governance of the People (1902)


In 2014, for the second time, China’s foremost state-run institution of contemporary art – Power Station of Art – hosts the Shanghai Biennale, in its converted power plant space.

Entitled “Social Factory”, the 10th Biennale asks what characterizes the production of the social, and how “social facts” are constituted. A recurring point of reference is the year 1978, acknowledged as a turning point in the recent history of modernity. 1978 was also the year in which Deng Xiaoping, who was to become China’s most influential Leader in the following decades, initiated his landmark socio-economic Reform and Opening, re-invoking Mao Zedong’s 1938 exhortation to “seek truth from facts”– a practice that sought to separate accounts of objective reality from subjective imagination. “Social Factory” contrasts this principle with the call to use fiction as a means of social reform, made by earlier seminal Chinese modernizers, like scholar and journalist Liang Qichao, and China’s seminal social critic and writer Lu Xun, who wrote The Story of Ah Q, Diary of a Madman, among others.

In this vein, the Biennale explores an interlocking set of questions: What is the relationship between the social and the fictive in the construction and re-construction of society? How has the production of the social changed throughout 20th century modernity? Has the production of the social entered a new phase with the massive influx of “sociometric” technologies, the extraction of data and digital profiling, and the increasing automatization of social processes in algorithms? And does China's pre-modern history of social systematization through unparalleled bureaucratic machinery and archiving capabilities echo in the country’s current processes of social fabrication? How can we grasp the simultaneous impact of history and that of technology on subjectification today? And how does the general process of acceleration and diversification of subjectification play out in the case of China and its current era of social reconstruction?

The “social” is produced by developing the human capacity to relate, through care, affection and education. The process encompasses the creation of symbols, abstract images and conceptual generalizations, which goes hand in hand with the formation of institutions and material culture. It also includes the constitution of a particular economy of signs, their “animated” and ambiguous relations to functions, meanings and things. Due to this complex genealogy, “social facts” can never be entirely known; they remain partially implicit, situated between the actual and the potential.

In modernity, this ambiguity of the social, and the possibility to plan and engineer society that hinges on it, has been a matter of ongoing contestation. Bureaucratic procedures, surveys, statistics, and concepts of identity have variously sought to reduce the complexity of the “social hieroglyph” (James C. Scott), in order to separate the meaningful from the meaningless or legible “signals” from “noise”. Drawing on both contemporary and historical works, as well as music and cinema, the 10th Shanghai Biennale presents art works that call such separation, and its historical productivity, into question.

About Curators

Anselm Franke is a curator and writer based in Berlin. He is Head of Visual Art and Film at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. In 2012, he curated the Taipei Biennial, Modern Monsters / Death and Life of Fiction. His project Animism was presented in Antwerp, Bern, Vienna, Berlin, New York, Shenzhen, Seoul and Beirut in various collaborations from 2010 to 2014. At the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, he co-curated The Whole Earth. California and the Disappearance of the Outside ( with Diedrich Diederichsen), and After Year Zero. Geographies of Collaboration (both 2013).

From 2006 to 2010 he was Artistic Director of Extra City Kunsthal Antwerpen, where he organized solo exhibitions by artists such as Peter Friedl, Joachim Koester, Valerie Mannaerts and others, co-curated Sergei Eisenstein: The Mexican Drawings, and curated group exhibitions such as Mimétisme, and Drawing Documents. He was a curator of Manifesta 7, The Soul, or Much Trouble in the Transportation of Souls, in Trento, Italy. Until 2006, Franke was curator at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, where he organized exhibitions such as Territories (with Eyal Weizman and others, later shown in Malmö, Stockholm, Rotterdam and Tel Aviv, 2003/2004) and No Matter How Bright the Light, the Crossing Occurs at Night (with Ines Schaber, Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Judith Hopf, 2006/2007). Anselm Franke has edited numerous publications and regularly contributes articles to magazines such as e-flux journal and Parkett. 

Zhu Ye    (b. 1973, Wuxi, China)  is an independent artist and curator, as well as an urban researcher working in Urban and Architecture Research Center of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts as the deputy director, and in School of Architecture and Art Design as associate professor.

From 2005 to 2009, Zhu had edited 36 strategies for & beyond festivals, City Sculpture, Street Ecology, China City³, Tongji Circle, The Ten Years Municipality of Chongqing, Cultural Heritage, Post-Disaster Reconstruction and Crisis Management and China Housing, focusing on analyzing the driving force and the broad social system involved under the appearance of China Urbanization. Meanwhile, he established NOFFICE in December 2005, to carry out the urban feasibility research as a team. 

Nicholas Bussmann mixes traditional composition with club music production techniques and concept art. He performs under various monikers and band names. Besides his artistic work he curates regularly a love song competition, named Grand Prix d’Amour in Berlin and occasionally for other venues: Maerzmusik/Berliner Festspiele, Haus der Kulturen der Welt/Berlin, Transmediale/Berlin. He toured in Europe, Japan, North and Middle America and published numerous Vinyls & CDs.

Nicholas Bussmann now lives in Berlin.

Hila Peleg (b. 1976 in Tel Aviv) is a curator and filmmaker based in Berlin. She studied Photography and Video at the University of Westminster, London, and Art History at Goldsmiths College, London. She has curated solo shows, large-scale group exhibitions, and various interdisciplinary cultural events in public institutions across Europe, such as KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin), Extra City Kunsthal (Antwerp), Iniva - Institute of International Visual Arts (London), and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin). Peleg was co-curator of Manifesta 7 European Biennial of Contemporary Art (Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, 2008). Her film A Crime Against Art (2007) was screened in film festivals worldwide, including Berlinale, Hot Docs, Toronto, and CPH:DOX, and presented at institutions such as the Centre Pompidou, the New Museum, and ZKM. Her new film, Sign Space, will be released in 2015. Peleg is the founder and artistic director of the Berlin Documentary Forum. Initiated at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in 2010, this biannual event is devoted to the production and presentation of contemporary and historical documentary practices in an interdisciplinary context. Peleg is curator for film program at the 10th Shanghai Art Biennale (2014).

Liu Xiao is researcher in Institute of Contemporary Art and Social Thought, School of Intermedia Art, and MA of China Academy of Art.  She used worked in Department of Research, Guangdong Museum of Art. In the past years, Liu has been involved in important international exhibitions of academic standing, contemporary art and architecture biennales. Her focal points and practice are curatorial study, social thoughts writing, and long-term independent research project “National Road”. As curator, she curated West Bund 2013: A Biennial of Architecture and Contemporary Art (Shanghai); in 2011, she launched Reading at Night series exhibition, traveled between Hangzhou and London, and completed the displaying on the magazine Vision; As assistant curator, curated Farewell to Post-colonialism: The 3rd Guangzhou Triennial (2008), Rehearsal: the 8th Shanghai Biennial (2010), and Reactivation: The 9th Shanghai Biennial. Her main editing work includes Farewell to Post-colonialism: The 3rd Guangzhou Triennial (2008) and relevant Readers 1, 2 and 3 (2008-2012), Rehearsal: the 8th Shanghai Biennial (2010), Ho Chi Minh Trail (2010), Architecture Creates Cities. Cities create Architecture: 2011 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of UrbanismArchitecture (2011), Reactivation: the 9th Shanghai Biennial (2012), etc.

Cosmin Costinas (b. 1982, Satu Mare, Romania) is the Executive Director/Curator of Para Site, Hong Kong (since 2011). He was the Curator of BAK, Utrecht (2008-2011); co-curator of the 1st Ural Industrial Biennial, Ekaterinburg (2010), and Editor of documenta 12 Magazines, Kassel/Vienna (2005–2007). At Para Site, Costinas co-curated among others: Ten Million Rooms of Yearning, Sex in Hong Kong (2014); the conference Is the Living Body the Last Thing Left Alive? The new performance turn, its histories and its institutions (2014); A Journal of the Plague Year. Fear, ghosts, rebels. SARS, Leslie and the Hong Kong story (2013, toured throughout 2014 and 2015 in Taipei, Seoul, San Francisco); Taiping Tianguo: A History of Possible Encounters (2012, toured throughout 2013 and 2014 in Istanbul, Singapore, New York).


Freya Chou plays various versions of herself in art projects, she is a curator, a producer, a collaborator, a narrator, a writer and a publisher. 

She started as a freelance curator, coordinated exhibitions at Taipei Fine Arts Museum from 2004 - 2008, including the 5th and 6th Taipei Biennial. She is assistant curator of 2010 Taipei Biennale and as one of the members in the curatorial team of 2014 Shanghai Biennale. She is also a founder of YiBen Book - an independent publishing house, committed to artist's book. She also contributes for art periodicals including Artist Magazine (Taiwan), ARTCO Magazine (Taiwan) and LEAP (China). 

She currently lives and works in Taipei.