Medha Kapur of Saffronart shares a note on the Inter-City Pavilions project at the 9th Shanghai Biennale
Shanghai: The Shanghai Biennale (October 2 –December 31, 2012) not only showcases contemporary art productions, but also creates forums where artists can meet, challenge their own works and expand their experiences. It offers the opportunity for a truly international exchange of ideas; while bringing together artists, curators, writers, theorists and art supporters from around the world. The Shanghai Biennale highlights the increasingly important role of artistic production in the Asia-Pacific region.
For the first time the exhibition will move beyond exploring national art practices and will begin exploring city art practices with its Inter-City Pavilions. These focus on the interesting connections and energy exchanges between people and cultures which, in today’s globalized world, are more likely to be identified within local communities rather than in national contexts. India will be represented by Mumbai, one of the nearly 30 cities featured in the inaugural show at the Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum, housed in a building that used to be a thermal power-plant. Some of the cities invited are Istanbul, Tehran, Hong Kong, Taipei, London, Barcelona, Ulaanbaatar and Berlin.
Curated by Diana Campbell and Susan Hapgood, the Mumbai pavilion will provide a dynamic evocation of the city’s artistic environment. The ten artists whose diverse art works will be presented in the pavilion include Gyan Panchal, Hemali Bhuta, Kausik Mukhopadhay, Manish Nai, Mansi Bhatt, Neha Choksi, Pablo Bartholomew, Sharmila Samant and Shilpa Gupta.
The pavilion will focus on several themes that ten artists have addressed in their work, and that make the city absolutely unique: its improvisational nature, its intricate collective networks, and its pervasive and re-usage and recycling practices. The works to be exhibited will not suggest any particular aesthetic or stylistic methodology. Rather, the artistic processes and images and meanings will gradually expand upon and suggest the exhibition themes in themselves.