What about Asia’s biennales? 3 Biennales happening right now in Asia.

Posted on November - 16 - 2016

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Today’s problems are now global, but the approach to solving them differs from one side of the globe to the other. Curators, artists, and academics see biennials, as meeting points were new dialogues are engaged between different actors, contexts, and audiences. The boundaries between East and West are now getting blurred in a globalized world, and thanks to cultural events like biennials, the dichotomies between the two cultural poles are shortened, and direct exchanges create new forms of knowledge.

Following the Biennale Boom, Asia followed the general tendencies and aimed to take part in the new art circuit and bring eager cultural tourists to its major capitals. Although most of the work shown in these exhibitions is Asian and some participation from European and American artists, Latin American artists are still not predominant in the selection. Which is no big surprise since the same can be said the other way around. However, it still proves crucial for art enthusiasts to acknowledge what is happening in other parts of the world since one of the main goals of art is to demonstrate that geographic boundaries now longer set works and contemporary art aims at treating international issues with a universal language, at least on paper.

So, if you are in the area or just curious, here are three biennales that are worth paying attention to and happening right now.

10th Taipei Biennial

Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan

10 September – 05 February 2017

One of the most seasoned biennales in the area is the taking place in the spacious rooms of the Taipei Fine Art Museum. Since its inauguration, the Biennale has presented a strong international agenda by inviting foreign and renowned curators to deal with themes such as decolonization. The 9th edition was curated by the famed French curator Nicholas Baurriaud and this year’s 10th edition was titled “Gestures and Archives of the Present, Genealogies of the Future” and curated by Corinne Diserens, presenting the work of more than 80 artists exploring historical resonances through visual or performative mediums. The event holds a section titled “Retrospectives” conceived by Xavier Le Roy and a three-part Symposium.

5th Singapore Biennale

28 October – 26 February 2017

Creative Director: Susie Lingham

The relatively new Biennale of Singapore explores through its central theme “An Atlas of Mirrors” new artistic perceptions that provide unexpected ways of perceiving and understanding the objective world. The exhibitions feature works of over 60 artists from Southeast Asia and East and South Asia in site-specific works and other media. The exhibitions try to map the intertwining migratory paths within the region, reflected on shared and opposing traditions. The Biennale is centered in the Singapore Art Museum, but will also be employing seven different locations. The curatorial team consists of SAM Curators Ms. Joyce Toh, Ms. Tan Siuli, Mr. Louis Ho, Ms. Andrea Fam and Mr. John Tung, as well as four Associate Curators who are invited by SAM to work collaboratively together.


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11th Shanghai Biennale

11 November – 12 March 2017

Curators: Raqs Media Collective

China’s biggest and most popular biennial is holding its 11th edition curated by Delhi’s Raqs Media Collective (who lately have been associated with Guatemala) and features seven guest-curated sections organized by Didem Yazici, Ivan Isaev, Liu Tian, Meouna Mekounar, Sabih Ahmed, Srajana Kaikini and Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi. This year’s exhibition “Why Not Asking Again: Arguments, Counter-Arguments & Stories” will occupy the firsts three floors of Power Statin of Art, and will present the work of 92 international artists and collectives from 40 different countries. The biennale also features “Terminals” that serve as points of connection performing artists Ivana Franke (Croatia), Regina José Galindo (Guatemala), Marjolijn Dijkman (Netherland) and MouSen + MSG (China). Apart from this, it offers an array of programs like Theory Opera, City Projects and “51 Personae Group”.

By: Gabriela Martinez de la Hoz


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