The theme for the 2008 Shanghai Biennale will be "Translocalmotion,'' it was announced yesterday.
The art event will open on September 8 at the Shanghai Art Museum.
"The theme tries to reflect the migration trend in Shanghai,'' said Zhang Qing, artistic director of the curating team, "To make it more concrete, we will select the People's Square, which is in the neighborhood of Shanghai Art Museum, as a starting point.''
"The square seems to contain on a small-scale level a lot of crucial issues that current Chinese society is dealing with,'' Henk Slager, the Dutch curator at the Biennale and the dean of the Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art Design, said. "One of the most significant aspects of these is the population movement from underdeveloped rural areas to developed urban spaces in search for opportunities under the background of drastic social and economic change in China. The nation is fast developing from an agricultural society to an industrialized information society, and from a command economy to a market economy.''
The curating team also includes German curator Julian Heynen who was involved with the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2003.
"To make the Shanghai Biennale stand out among other biennales around the world, we plan to have three solo exhibitions,''said Heynen. "But the selection of solo artists could be a tough job, as a new structure applied to a biennale would be a challenge.''
The curating team has decided to invite around 50 artists to take part in the 2008 Shanghai Biennale.
The 70-day biennale plans to extend the exhibition space into more public areas which not only includes areas around the museum, but the city's Metro stations, airports and other art museums.
Shanghai Biennale, which was established in 1996, is the biggest biennale in Asia.
The Hyper-design 2006 Shanghai Biennale was a great success and attracted nearly 200,000 visitors.
Bank Sarasin, a Swiss private bank, announced two weeks ago a five-edition "associate partnership'' of the 7th-11th Shanghai Biennale (2008-2016).
An insider said the bank's sponsorship was worth around 24 million yuan (US$3.3 million). But neither the biennale office nor the bank would confirm details.
(Shanghai Daily January 22, 2008)