Produced for the 13th Shanghai Biennale by Paula Vilaplana. Courtesy of the Shanghai Biennale.

Shanghai Biennale Announces Curatorial Team, Theme, and New Format of Thirteenth Edition

The Shanghai Biennale, the oldest art biennial in China, is revamping its format for its thirteenth edition. Titled “Bodies of Water,” the event will unfold over the course of nine months, from November 2020 to July 2021, and is being described as an “evolving, in crescendo project conceived as a collective undertaking by artists, activists and institutions.”

Led by the New York–based architect and writer Andrés Jaque, director of the Advanced Architectural Design Program at Columbia University and founder of the Office for Political Innovation, and a curatorial team comprising YOU Mi, Marina Otero Verzier, Lucia Pietroiusti, and Filipa Ramos, the biennial will invite artists to contemplate trans-species collectivity and interconnectivity and engage with the history and the geography of Shanghai, including of the site of the Power Station—a former coal-electric plant that fueled the industrialization of the Huangpu River.

The first phase of the biennial, “A Wet-Run Rehearsal,” which will run from November 10 to November 14, will be a summit during which contributors will present their work in the form of a performative assembly taking place in the Power Station of Art’s Grand Hall as well as in art spaces along the Yangtze River. Phase two, “An Ecosystem of Alliances,” will occur across television channels and social media and will encompass university programs and serial interventions on urban dynamics from November 15, 2020 to April 9, 2021; and phase three, “An Exhibition,” will be staged at various locations across the city from April 10 to July 18, 2021.