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“Why Not Ask Again: Arguments, Counter-arguments, and Stories” The 11th Shanghai Biennale

Why Not Ask Again: Arguments, Counter-arguments, and Stories

The 11th Shanghai Biennale

Power Station of Art, Shanghai

12 November 2016 – 12 March 2017

(12 September 2016, Shanghai, China) Power Station of Art (PSA) is excited to announce 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. 

The head of PSA exhibition department, The charge of Shanghai Biennale, Ms. Xiang Li Ping.

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. 

Monica Narula, member of Raqs Media Collective
Jeebesh Bagchi, member of Raqs Media Collective


“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).

Sabih Ahmed, curatorial collegiate

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. 

 Chen Yun,curatorial collegiate

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..

Liu Tian, curatorial collegiate

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, or within works, and outside PSA in the city, throughout the duration of the biennale. “Theory Opera” is coordinated by Liu Tian and in collaboration with Yao Mengxi as the scenographer. 

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.

The 11th Shanghai Biennale:

“Why Not Ask Again? Arguments, Counter-arguments and Stories”

From 12 November, 2016 to 12 March, 2017

Chief Curator: Raqs Media Collective

Curatorial Collegiate: Sabih Ahmed, Liu Tian, Chen Yun and Tess Maunder.

Curatorial Coordinator: Xu Chenfei

Thematic exhibition Venue: 1-3F, Shanghai Power Station of Art

Venues for City Projects: Swatch Art Peace Hotel, Sky Ring at Shanghai Joy City, Good choice bakery, online, Baoshan Road, Dinghaiqiao, Shanghai Concert Hall square, etc.

Thematic exhibition Artists:

Agan Harahap, Aki Sasamoto, Anawana Haloba, Ayesha Jatoi, Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde& Salome Asega, Azadeh Akhlaghi, Bahar Behbahani, Bianca Baldi, Cell Art Group, Chen Zhe, Christian Thompson, Christine Sun Kim, Desire Machine Collective, Etel Adnan, Fabrice Monteiro, Farzana Ahmed Urmi, Forensic Oceanography, Gagandeep Singh, Georges Adéagbo, Graham Harwood/YoHa, Ha Bik Chuen, HaoJingban, Heidi Voet, Hu Xiangqian, IstvánZsíros, Jagdeep Raina, Jefferson Pinder, John Gerrard, Karl Max, Kendell Geers, Khaled Barakeh, LantianXie, Lee Mingwei, Lena Zubtsova, Liao Fei, CANTONBON, Lin Ke, Phuong Linh Nguyen, Lisa Tan, Liu Wei, Liu Yujia, Lu Pingyuan, Ma Haijiao, Mao Chenyu, Marina Androsovich, Matts Leiderstam, Moinak Biswas, Müge Yilmaz, Nabuqi, Navjot Altaf, Nicholas Wells, Nikolaus Hirsch/Michel Müller, Olivier de Sagazan, Olu Oguibe, Patty Chang, Peter Piller, Rabin Mondal, Radical Space, Rafiqul Shuvo, Rheim Alkadhi, Robin Meier, Ross Manning, Sammy Baloji, Sener Özmen, Simone Fattal, Sofya Staune, Sohrab Hura, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu, SUPERFLEX, Surabhi Sharma &Tejaswini Niranjana, Susanne Kriemann, Takashi Arai, Tao Hui, Taus Makhacheva, Theo Eshetu, Tomás Saraceno, Verina Gfader, Vinu V.V., Vishal K. Dar, Wang Gongxin, Wang Haichuan, Yang Zhenzhong, Yazan Khalili, Yin Yi, Yu Ji, Zheng Bo, Zheng Chongbin, Zhou Zixi.

About ShanghaiBiennale

With its first edition launched in 1996, the Shanghai Biennale was the first international biennale dedicated to contemporary art in mainland China. Over the past 19 years, it has held highly its mission to support academic and creative innovation, and with an open perspective has been concerned with cultural change and the direction of innovation in the context of globalization, evolving into a significant platform for international art exchange and presentation. In the current global circumstance of strong interconnection, the 11th Shanghai Biennale attaches itself to exploring possibility for “south-south cooperation,” and by such exploration seeks to present an art world that traverses the dividing boundary between the East and the West and embraces radiating variety.

About Power Station of Art (PSA)

Established on October 1st, 2012, the Power Station of Art (PSA) is the first state-run museum dedicated to contemporary art in mainland China. It is also the hosting organization for the Shanghai Biennale since 2012. The facility that houses PSA was renovated from a former power plant, whose brute style of industrial architecture provides a rich source of inspiration for artists and enables diverse creative possibilities. With a total exhibition area of 15 thousand square meters, it provides the Shanghai Biennale with a large physical space for expression. As the Shanghai Biennale gains greater international influence, it continues to closely examine and engage with local issues, while PSA evolves into an imagination-stimulating new power plant.

Media Inquiry

Head of media of PSA   Ms. Liujie

Sutton Hong Kong      Ms. Sybil Kot