April 1, 2008 - Shanghai Biennale - European Press Conference
April 1, 2008

European Press Conference

European Press Conference
Seventh Shanghai Biennale

Curatorial Team:
Zhang Qing, Julian Heynen and
Henk Slager

Berlin, ifa Gallery, April 4, 11.30-12.30



Since its inauguration the Shanghai Biennale has repeatedly taken the city itself and its urban conditions as a starting point for its artistic explorations. In line with this inner logic, the curatorial team of the 2008 edition proposes to focus on one of the most import cornerstones of urban design: the public square which is a prime location of transfer, connection, connectivity, meeting, social and economical exchange.

For this reason, twenty emerging and established artists have been invited to take People’s Square as visual metaphor for the complex dynamics of the people’s mobility. Their work will be displayed on various media within and outside of the museum. Works that are shown outside were created with an intent to interact with the environment or the public. Each artist will also create an additional piece to be shown on the ground floor of the museum.

On the second floor, the curatorial team will focus on solo-exhibitions of three prominent artists. This rather unusual proposal was conceived in reaction to a tendency among many Biennales to present a vast number of hardly distinguishable artistic positions. As a guideline for the choice of artists in this section a more reflective and general attitude towards the issue of mobility related to the urban, economical and social development should be apparent in their artistic production.

On the third floor, under the same theme, another twenty artists will be showing their work using non-shanghainese elements, to explore and discuss mobility issues in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

First group of confirmed artists: Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan, Bu Hua, Bethan Huws, Mike Kelley, Kim Sanggil, Hito Steyerl, Clemens von Wedermeyer. Yin Xiu and Zhou Chang Jiang.


Zhang Qing (artistic director) serves as Deputy Director of the 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 Zhang 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 in the 1990s. In 2000 he was named one of the “top curators in China” by China’s national TV station CCTV and other fifty media organizations.

Julian Heynen (curator), 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-Westfahlen in Dusseldorf (Germany). Commissioner of the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2003 and 2005. www.kunstsammlung.de

Henk Slager (curator) studied philosophy, art history and general literature. In 1989, he earned a Ph.D. (University of Amsterdam) writing an art philosophical thesis entitled Fomalistic Temperament. In 1993 he established the Global Vernunft Foundation that organizes and executes projects (exhibitions, symposia, graduate teaching programs, publications) concerning the interface of philosophy and contemporary art. Currently Henk Slager is Dean of the Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design (MaHKU) and its professor of Artistic Research. www.mahku.nl


Ifa Gallery Berlin, Linienstrasse 139-141, April 4, 11.30-12.30


Opening Ceremony: 8 September 2008
Duration: 9 September – 16 November 2008

Hosted by the Organizing Committee of the Shanghai Biennale
Shanghai Art Museum, 325 Nanjing Road Wst
Shanghai 200003 China


Shanghai Biennale
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