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The 11th Shanghai Biennale: "Why Not Ask Again: Arguments, Counter-arguments, and Stories"
Lee Mingwei, Our Labyrinth, 2015‐ongoing, Photo courtesy of Taipei Fine Arts Museum.

SHANGHAI.- Power Station of Art announced the complete list of 92 participating artists and artist groups for the thematic exhibition of 11th Shanghai Biennale. Details were also revealed for key sections extended from the thematic exhibition, including ‘Infra-Curatorial Platform’, ‘51 Personae’ and the ‘City Projects’ as well as 25 additional artworks. Curated by the Delhi-based artist group Raqs Media Collective, the 11th Shanghai Biennale will run from 11 November 2016 through 12 March 2017.

Thematic exhibition of the 11th Shanghai Biennale
Titled “Why Not Ask Again: Arguments, Counter-arguments, and Stories,” the Shanghai Biennale thematic exhibition will occupy the first three floors of Power Station of Art, exhibiting works by 92 international artists and artist groups from 40 countries worldwide, including 27 Chinese artists,32 female artists, 48 male artist and 12 artist groups.

“Terminals” are an important feature of the 11th edition of the biennale, providing points of connection and amplification for the exhibition. It is also the curator’s (Raqs Media Collective) way of recognizing contemporary artists who have to act as shapers of discourse, and as engines and pilots of the imagination. “Terminals” feature artists Ivana Franke (Croatia), Regina José Galindo (Guatemala), Marjolijn Dijkman (Netherland) and MouSen + MSG (China).

Infra-Curatorial Platform
Within the frameworks of the thematic exhibition are epiphytically folded the seven layers of the Infra-Curatorial Platform, where seven young curators from different parts of the world have each developed a sub-exhibition. The seven curators are Didem Yazıcı (Istanbul, Turkey), Ivan Isaev (Moscow, Russia), Liu Tian (Hangzhou, China), Mouna Mekounar (Paris, France), Sabih Ahmed (Delhi, India), Srajana Kaikini (Bangalore, India) and Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi (Lagos, Nigeria).

Although intrinsically pertinent to the thematic exhibition, the “Infra-Curatorial Platform” stands with relative independence, as it delves more deeply into the roles and viewpoints of the curators. Each “infra curatorial” layer is an exploration of a different curatorial vantage point that draws upon new questions around networked thinking and knowledge from archives, powerful images: how will the young curators find their own way into the curating big picture? The ‘infra-curators’ will act as our fellow navigators at the biennale.

51 Personae
Curated by chief curator Raqs Media Collective and executed by curatorial collegiate Chen Yun and the “51 Personae Group” of the Dinghaiqiao Mutual Aid Society, the project “51 Personae” explores the possibilities of everyday life and adds to the biennale the poetry of life. Three programmes, each featuring a Shanghai “figure”, will be presented in the city every week over the 17-week duration of the biennale.
“51 Personae” includes a soldier-like baker, a young man determined to ride on all the buses in Shanghai, a high school student who has witnessed the growth and fall of the city, a 12-year old candy paper collection group and 3 movie poster painters, etc..

Theory Opera
“When theory gets to work, it sings.” The “Theory Opera” aims to explore the sensuality of thoughts. These are live scenarios within the exhibition space at intersections of works, within works, and outside PSA in the city, throughout the duration of the biennale. “Theory Opera” is coordinated by Liu Tian and Yao Mengxi.

City Projects
Shanghai Biennale has always been informed by and reflective on its relationship with the city of Shanghai. The 2016 edition of Shanghai Biennale will extend its programme into the city through guided walks, gatherings, performances, talks, special exhibitions, exhibitions by emerging curators, and podcasts, initiating engaging dialogues with the city throughout the biennale.

As an extension of the exhibition theme reaching out to spaces outside of PSA, part of the City Projects are curated by the Shanghai Biennale curatorial team, including parts of the “51 Personae”, “Theory Opera” and the “Infra-Curatorial Platform.” The remaining sections of this project will be constituted by associated external programs that are initiated by PSA but held outside of PSA, such as “Metamorphosis of the God of Harvest,” selected from the 2016 “PSA Emerging Curators Program”, which will be presented at the art center of the Swatch Art Peace Hotel.

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