"Bodies of Water": PSA Announces the Theme for the 13th Shanghai Biennale

Power Station of Art (PSA) has announced the curatorial team and theme for the 13th Shanghai Biennale, proposed by its Chief Curator, the architect and writer Andrés Jaque (Office for Political Innovation).

Courtesy of PSA

For the first time, the Biennale will operate as an eight-month, evolving, “in crescendo” project conceived as a collective undertaking by artists, activists, and institutions, and unfolding in three phases between November 2020 and June 2021, challenging the usual art biennale format. To realize this ambitious proposition, Jaque is working closely with a curatorial team consisting of You Mi, Marina Otero Verzier, Lucia Pietroiusti, and Filipa Ramos.

Titled 水体 Bodies of Water, the 13th Shanghai Biennale will advocate for processes of planetary re-alliance relying on transspecies collectivity. Exploring forms of fluid solidarity, the Biennale will convene artists to think beyond human-centered and nation-based narratives, connecting the discussions of bodies with those of the environment. Chief Curator Andrés Jaque has said:

From the depth and tempo of breath to the evolution of an ecosystem, the Biennale will reflect on how collectivities are made tangible and bodied in wet-togetherness, exploring diverting forms of aqueousness. Beyond the confines of flesh and land, the curatorial proposal considers how discharging, breathing, transfusing, flushing, and decomposing are ways in which bodies exist together.

2018 Shanghai Biennale. Image Courtesy of Shanghai Biennale

The president of the PSA Academic Committee, Fei Dawei states: “The preparation of the 13th Shanghai Biennale took place during the uncertain times of a health crisis. “Bodies of Water” presents itself in fluid forms to accommodate the ever-changing reality, while finding ways to confront conventional exhibition-making methods. The Biennale strives to reach a place previous exhibition forms could not access. More importantly, this exhibition is utterly experimental: in the face of the changing global conditions, curatorial practices will continue to explore the possibilities of self-renewal.”

2018 Shanghai Biennale. Image Courtesy of Shanghai Biennale

The Biennale is engaging with the history and geography of Shanghai, a long-standing arena for liquid territorial bodies, and the site for this Biennale. The city is intimately connected to the 5,000-meter descent to the East China Sea of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau’s meltwaters located at the intersection of the Huangpu and the Yangtze Rivers, and in the vicinity of the human-made Jing-Hang Grand Canal. Particles dragged from up to 6,300 kilometers of sediment are metabolized by edible plants at the Yangtze Delta, China’s most fertile agricultural site. Mineral and organic matter, traveling suspended as part of bodies of water, is then embodied. Water flowing reconstructs geographies and vitalizes organisms. Not without a struggle.

2018 Shanghai Biennale. Image Courtesy of Shanghai Biennale

For the first time, the Shanghai Biennale will operate as an eight-month “in crescendo” project, unfolding in three phases:

Phase 01: A Wet-run Rehearsal (November 10–14, 2020). A summit bringing together contributors to present their work in the form of a performative assembly taking place in the PSA’s Grand Hall and spreading out to networks of art spaces along the Yangtze River, as well as online.

Phase 02: An Ecosystem of Alliances (November 15, 2020 – April 9, 2021). Keeping a permanent post at the PSA, the “in crescendo” project associates itself with infrastructures where online/offline social and communal life are taking place. These include streaming TV channels, social media, university programs, and serial interventions on urban dynamics.

Phase 03: An Exhibition. (April 10 – June 27, 2021). Opening with a festival, the Biennale will unfold into an exhibition that will run through PSA and expand into a series of locations along the Huangpu River and across the city of Shanghai.

News via Shanghai Biennale

2018 Shanghai Biennale. Image Courtesy of Shanghai Biennale

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Cite: 韩双羽 - HAN Shuangyu. ""Bodies of Water": PSA Announces the Theme for the 13th Shanghai Biennale" 05 Jun 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/941137/psa-announces-theme-for-the-13th-shanghai-biennale> ISSN 0719-8884

Concept Image of the theme, produced for the biennale by Paula Vilaplana de Miguel ©Paula Vi. Image Courtesy of Shanghai Biennale


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