Ou Ning

Ou Ning

Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Shenzhen)

January 10, 2009

Ou Ning appointed chief curator of 2009 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism Architecture


After months of discussion and evaluation, the committee of Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture has selected Ou Ning as the chief curator for its third installment, due to be launched at the end of 2009 in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, the coastal city in the South China known as the forefront of China’s economic reform.

Presented by the Shenzhen Municipal Government and produced by the city’s Planning Bureau and Culture Bureau, the Biennale is currently the only urbanism \ architecture-themed international biennale in China. The first two installments—curated by Yung Ho Chang, head of MIT’s Department of Architecture in 2005, and Ma Qingyun, dean of the University of South California School of Architecture in 2007—have focused respectively on the theme of ‘City: Open Door!’ and ‘COER: City of Expiration and Regeneration’. The 2007 exhibition was also extended beyond Shenzhen and was presented innovatively as a ‘Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale’. More than 200 architects, designers, artists and scholars were invited during the two exhibitions, which have established the Biennale as an once-every-two-year feast for the international scene of urbanism and architecture.

Taking ‘City Mobilisation’ as the curatorial point of departure, Ou is aiming at an exhibition that’s more accessible and engaging, while retaining the cutting-edge nature of its predecessors. The primary aim is to investigate the mode of operation and the organisation of social life in the context of contemporary urbanity. Large-scale symposia, conversation programmes and workshops promise to offer active platforms for stimulative thinking and discourse generating. An international team consisting of five curators from Europe, America and Asia will be working together with Ou to ensure the geographical diversity of the exhibition line-up. All exhibitions will be taking place in unconventional venues—which include important landmarks from different period of the two cities, for which multiple site-specific projects will be commissioned and carried out. The Biennale will also involve several retrospectives of individual architects, so as to complement the group-exhibition practice familiar to the international biennale circus and to offer in-depth case studies. Finally, as an attempt to stretch the concept of architecture exhibition beyond diagrams and mock-ups, a special ‘Architecture Tour’ programme will be prepared for the audience—who will be invited to register on the Biennale’s website for various architecture-oriented tours designed by travel agencies specifically for the exhibition—so that they can go to different Chinese cities to experience selected architecture projects by local and international architects.

Ou Ning’s cultural practices encompass multiple disciplines. As a curator, Ou Ning initiated the Get It Louder exhibition which tours in the major cities of China every two years and has become an important platform for young and innovative artists and designers from around the world. He’s also the commissioned curator of the sound art section in China Power Station, an exhibition presented by the Serpentine Gallery at London’s legendary Battersea Power Station and then travelled to Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo and MUDAM, Luxembourg. As an artist, Ou is known for his involvement in urban research and his archive and documentary projects such as San Yuan Li (participant of the 50th Biennale di Venezia in 2003) and Da Zha Lan, sponsored by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes. He is a frequent contributor of various magazines, books and exhibition catalogues and has lectured around the world. In the late 1990s, he founded U-thèque, an independent film and video society. Later, he launched Alternative Archive, his personal studio as well as a platform for alternative cultural activities. He’s currently based in Beijing, China and is the Director of Shao Foundation, a non-profit organisation focused on cultural production and social engineering.


Office: Room 607, Municipal Planning Building
8009 Hongli Xi Lu, Shenzhen 518034
P. R. China

Tel: (86) (755) 8395 3209
Fax: (86) (755) 8395 3210


Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism  Architecture

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