The biennale defines itself as a ‘rehearsal’, as a reflective space of performance.

8th Shanghai Biennale


Oct. 24th, 2010 – Jan. 23rd, 2011

Curatorial Team: FAN Di’An, LI Lei, GAO Shiming
Executive Curator: GAO Shiming
Curatorial Assistant: HUA Yi

The 2010 Shanghai Biennale raises the following question: How can we get out of the dilemma of artistic creation in the current milieu of an artistic system seamlessly and endlessly constituted by international discourse, mega exhibitions, art fairs and transnational capital?

How do we identify the internal frontiers of the ‘art world’ hijacked by global capitalism while we are ourselves part of it? Is contemporary artistic practice capable of generating a new Produktionsverhältnisse beyond the throttles of institutional critique and social participation?

The biennale defines itself as a ‘rehearsal’, as a reflective space of performance. As Brecht has noted, ‘Actors in rehearsal do not wish to ‘realize’ an idea. Their task is to awaken and organize the creativity of the other. Rehearsals are experiments, aiming to explore the many possibilities of here and now. The rehearser’s task is to expose all stereotyped, clichéd and habitual solutions.’ The ‘rehearsal’ of Shanghai Biennale 2010 is a self-performative act of the art world, a constant attempt at self-reminder and self-liberation. Rehearsal is wielded against ‘performance’, ‘production’ and ‘discursive practice’. The responsibility of the curators is to differentiate, organize and then mobilize.

For the Shanghai Biennale 2010, ‘rehearsing’ is not a metaphor for a form of exhibition, but a way of thinking and operating strategy. What the Biennale aims to achieve is to invite a wide range of participants: artists, curators, critics, collectors, museum directors and members of the audience to rehearse in the Biennale, a fertile theatre to reflect on the relations between artistic experimentation and the art system, between individual creativity and the public domain.


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