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Curatorial Team for the 2017 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (Shenzhen) Officially Announced
2016.11.11

The year of 2017 is meant to be extraordinary for the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (UABB). On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong, the 7th UABB is just around the corner. Different from the previous UABBs, for the very first time the 2017 UABB will be held in urban village, which blends experimental and pioneering practice with urban daily life to discuss the issues of urban upgrading and renovation and seek practical solutions to them. Unprecedentedly, this will be a tailor-made UABB for urban villages.

YANG Hong, Director of UABB Organizing Committee and member of the Standing Committee of CPC Shenzhen Municipal Committee, officially announced at the closing ceremony of the last UABB that for the first time the exhibition venue of the 2017 UABB would be in urban village. In the first meeting of the 2017 UABB Organizing Committee recently held, Yang Hong said that urban villages were the bearer of Shenzhen's culture, and encouraged UABB to be innovative with its own characteristic.

After about half a year of global and open recruitment of the 2017 UABB curator/team, the UABB Organizing Committee received a number of proposals from international and domestic institutions and teams. After the preliminary examination by the UABB Academic Committee, three proposals have been selected for the final review. Subsequently at the curator evaluation meeting, members of the Academic Committee debriefed the presentations of the short-listed applicants/teams, and decided on the best proposal after evaluating and voting. In the end, the UABB Organizing Committee officially confirmed and announced that the 2017 UABB (Shenzhen) would be co-curated by HOU Hanru, LIU Xiaodu and MENG Yan (in alphabetic order). HOU Hanru is widely recognized as one of the most crucial figures who have introduced Chinese contemporary art to the western world, while LIU Xiaodu and MENG Yan from URBANUS are top architects and curators in China and had served as members of UABB Academic Committee and participants at previous UABBs.

Their proposal is highly praised by the UABB Academic Committee. Urban/architectural critic SHI Jian said, “The curator team combining art curator and architect is original, very creative and fascinating. HOU Hanru is an internationally renowned art curator who has shown a sustained interest in the Pearl River Delta. URBANUS has been working on the design, exhibition and research of urban villages for years, so they are highly experienced.” Cultural scholar HU Yeqiu commented, “The proposal focuses on recreating the internal mechanism of the urban villages, and attempts to resolve the dilemma of the urban-rural duality. To be fair, offering an alternative rational choice to the city is a constructive vision.” ZHU Rongyuan, Deputy Chief Planner of China Academy of Urban Planning and Design, pointed out, “Urban villages are a unique product of Shenzhen; so there is a good reason to present them as a special topic; I'm sure there will be some unusual findings when we interpret the modernization of Shenzhen from the perspective of the urban villages. In this way, the connection between China and the world triggered by the urban villages is a very clear storyline, and can easily generates the conflicts of values and drama. (The proposal) shows great vision and in-depth understanding, meanwhile, offers possibilities for cross-over cooperation.”

The curatorial team regarded that using urban village as exhibition venue will be the greatest breakthrough of 2017 UABB:

“Urban villages are the product of conflict between and integration of the rapid urbanization and the urban-rural duality leftover from the planned economy era. This phenomenon is particularly prominent in the rapid urbanization of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, two cities that are representative of the Pearl River Delta. The unique exhibition environment of the urban village pushes us to redefine and rethink the structure and experience of the exhibition.

How can we custom tailor an exhibition for the urban village instead of simply placing a generic biennale into the urban village context? It must be totally different from the recent biennales held in large industrial buildings. The UABB should represent and reveal the local specificities and possibility of urban architectures more actively. The venue and events could be more critical and experimental when considering about the present and the future while approaching and blending with the daily life of the general public.

By using of public spaces commonly seen in the urban villages and their combination with industrial plants, UBAA will be able to explore to the maximum degree the connectivity between the real issues facing the city and urban daily life. The relatively large space in urban villages can accommodate the conventional contents of the exhibition, while other special core spaces in the village will be inserted like acupuncture needles, creating form through a combination of point, line, and surface in order to promote urban activation and renewal. ”

Subsequent to the first meeting of the 2017 UABB Organizing Committee, the UABB office has conducted further discussion with the district governments on the exhibition venue. The final results on the theme, venue, time and etc. of the exhibition will be the announced in the first press conference in early 2017. Please stay tuned.

 


 

2017 UABB Curatorial Team Introduction

(In Alphabetic Order)

Chief Curators: HOU Hanru, LIU Xiaodu, MENG Yan

Co-Curators/Executive Curators: YANG Yong, ZHU Ye


 

Chief Curators:

 

HOU HANRU

Curator and critic based in Paris, San Francisco and Rome. He worked at San Francisco Art Institute as Director of Exhibitions and Public Program and Chair of Exhibition and Museum Studies from 2006 to 2012. He is currently the Artistic Director of MAXXI (National Museum for 21st Century Art and National Museum of Architecture), Rome, Italy. He has curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions including “China/Avant-Garde” (1989), “Cities On The Move” (1997–2000), Shanghai Biennale (2000),Gwangju Biennale (2002), Venice Biennale (French Pavilion, 1999, Z.O.U. — Zone Of Urgency, 2003, Chinese Pavilion, 2007), Nuit Blanche (2004, Paris), the 2nd Guangzhou Triennial (2005), the 2nd Tirana Biennial (2005), the 10th Istanbul Biennial (2007), “Global Multitude” (Luxembourg 2007), “Trans(cient)City” (Luxembourg 2007), EV+A 2008 (Limerick), The 10th Lyon Biennale (Lyon, 2009), The 5th Auckland Triennial (2013), etc. Hou Hanru has been consultant and advisor in many international institutions including The Guggenheim Museum (New York), Times Museum of Contemporary Art (Guangzhou), Today Art Museum (Beijing), Deutsche Bank Collection (Frankfurt), Kadist Art Foundation (San Francisco/Paris), etc.  

 


 

LIU XIAODU

 

Principal and co-founder of URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. LIU Xiaodu has engaged in projects of urban and architecture design in Shenzhen since 1998, gaining rich experience and receiving numerous design awards. Liu Xiaodu has led a number of urban design and research projects of URBANUS, including a series of Urban Village researches and high-density urban morphology studies.

 LIU Xiaodu has served as the member of the Academic Committee of Shenzhen Urbanism\ Architecture Biennale for several sections, and he currently holds the post of the first chairman for the Shenzhen City of Design Promotion Association. LIU Xiaodu has participated in numerous domestic and international architectural exhibitions and academic events including the 6th Sao Paulo International Biennale of Architecture and Design 2005, Lisbon Architecture Triennial 2007, Taking a Stance in Rotterdam: Daring design | Daring Design 2008, and Tulou Solo Exhibition of Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York etc. His major curatorial experience includes China Pavilion of 2016 London Biennale etc.

LIU Xiaodu was graduated from Tsinghua University and Miami University. He served as assistant professor in the school of architecture at Tsinghua University in 1980s, and recently taught architectural design at Hong Kong University, IUAV, Shenzhen University and Tsinghua University, etc.

 


 

MENG YAN

 

Principal and Co-founder of URBANUS Architecture & Design Inc. MENG Yan has focused on architectural design and urban research in the context of contemporary Chinese cities since 1999. His built work includes Luohu Art Museum, Dafen Art Museum, Tulou Collective Housing, OCT Art & Design Gallery, Oct Loft Renovation, Maillen Hotel & Apartment, Library of South University of Science and Technology, Artron Art Center, CGN Headquarter Tower and Shum Yip Upper Hills Loft. Many of these works win prestigious architecture awards and have been exhibited worldwide. URBANUS first published the research album of the urban villages in Shenzhen, Village/City City/Village, in 2006 and has continued the researches and urban interventions of the Urban Village for the following ten years.

MENG Yan was appointed chief curator of the Shenzhen Pavilion in the 2010 Shanghai Expo and he also participated in curatorial projects including the 2010 Dafen International Mural Exhibition, the 2010 Convection•Dafen International Contemporary Art Exhibition, the 2010 OCT International Mural Exhibition and the 2014 Chinese Pavilion of the 14th International Venice Architecture Biennale.

MENG Yan graduated from Tsinghua University and Miami University and he is an architect licensed in New York State. He is now a visiting professor at the School of Architecture at Syracuse University in New York. He served as a visiting professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong and as the member of Academic Committee of Shenzhen Urbanism\ Architecture Biennale.

 


 

Co-Curators/Executive Curators:

YANG YONG

 

Artist and curator. Graduated from Sichuan Art Institute, Founder of Shangqi Art, Deputy Director of Shenzhen Arts Planning Association. Since 1999, YANG Yong has participated over 120 exhibitions all over the world, including 50th Venice Biennial, Italy; the 4th Gwangju Biennale, Korea; the 34th Rencontres d‘Arles, France; “Argos Art Festival” Brussels, Belgian; the 3rd and the 4th Guangzhou Triennial. His works have been collected by museums, art centers and private collectors in the United States, Britain, Germany, France and many other countries. He is a member of the curatorial team for Shenzhen Pavilion in 2010 Shanghai Expo. He has curated exhibitions including “Ongoing Contemporary Art Show”, “MAGIC International Art Exhibition” (2012,2015), The 35th Anniversary Art Exhibition of the Shenzhen Special Administrative Region Establishment and the Shenzhen Contemporary Art Biennale (2015), The 2015 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture – Xipu Affiliated Exhibition and World by World - Contemporary Art Exhibition.

 


 ZHU YE

 

ZHU Ye is an independent artist and curator, as well as an urban researcher, Co-founder of N-office Studio. Graduated from Architecture and Urban Planning Faculty of Chongqing University In 1997. In 2008, he co-curetted the Chinese Session of The Street Belongs to All of Us! World Tour, and The Fifth Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Contemporary Urbanism\Architecture in 2013. As the curator of The City Pavilion of 10th Shanghai Biennale 2014. He is also the author of Everyday Life of City.

 

 


 

Comments From UABB Academic Committee

(In No Particular Order) 

l   Jeffery Johnson

2013 UABB Curator, Director, Asia Megacities Lab + Studio-X Beijing at Columbia University GSAPP

A very comprehensive proposal. The curatorial team has the experience and knowledge to achieve the ambitions set out in the proposal. They have already proven that they are committed to the theme and to advancing the UABB platform. I am confident that the team will be able to strike the right balance between research and design. Highly recommended.

 

l   SHI Jian

Architecture / Urban critic, Founding partner of Positioning Architecture

The proposal based on introspection on previous UABB themes, brings people’s attention and concern to the starting point—focusing on regional features of Shenzhen and PRD's rapid urbanization, and paying attention to common urban problems across the world. In addition, based on the introspection on the organizing and venue patterns of previous UABBs, this project makes venue based adjustments. It tries to conduct thorough and systematic research on Shenzhen's urban villages and arranges the exhibition venue in the urban villages.

The curator team combining art curator and architect is original, very creative and fascinating. HOU Hanru is an internationally renowned art curator who has shown a sustained interest in the Pearl River Delta. URBANUS has been working on the design, exhibition and research of urban villages for years, so they are highly experienced. The project proposal is sufficient proof that the curatorial team has made full preparation. Furthermore, their documents are the most complete and systematic among all proposals.

 

l   HU Yeqiu

Cultural scholar, Phoenix TV planner

Urban Villages, the new urban landscape in Shenzhen, enrich and add complex layers to city life, but are hard to describe. The proposal focuses on recreating the internal mechanism of the urban villages, and attempts to resolve the dilemma of the urban-rural duality. To be fair, offering an alternative rational choice to the city is a constructive vision.

 

l   ROAN Ching-Yueh 

Professor of Art and Design Department of Yuan Ze University, Taiwan

The proposal focuses on urban villages, which plays a significant role in Shenzhen's urban development. The project is quite clear and provides an opportunity to explore Shenzhen. It is neither too generic nor filled with unnecessary details. The proposal has a complete and in-depth understanding of Shenzhen's history and reality, as well as urban villages, and presents a proper and true understanding of the city. Furthermore, the proposal has deep understanding on the vitality and social milieu of an urban village space, and the subject value of individuals regarding space.

 

l   Aaron Betsky

Architect, Critic, 2015 UABB (Shenzhen) Curator

Taking the urban villages as a focal point is a good idea. This proposal seems like a vey technical and community action-oriented proposal. If UABB wants something modest and inward looking, this would be the one.

 

l   SUN Zhenhua

Artistic Director of Shenzhen Public Art Center, Professor, Renowned art critic

Looking forward to the creative combination of the curatorial team.

 

l   ZHU Rongyuan

Deputy Chief Planner of China Academy of Urban Planning and Design

China has accumulated several unique characteristics in its quest for modernization. Urban villages are a unique product of Shenzhen; so there is a good reason to present them as a special topic; I'm sure there will be some unusual findings when we interpret the modernization of Shenzhen from the perspective of the urban villages. In this way, the connection between China and the world triggered by the urban villages is a very clear storyline, and can easily generates the conflicts of values and drama. (The proposal) shows great vision and in-depth understanding, meanwhile, offers possibilities for crossover cooperation.

 

l   Doreen Heng LIU

Founder and Principal Architect of NODE Architecture and Urbanism, 2015 UABB (Shenzhen) Curator

It is a great proposal from regional and global views with curators from domestic and international background. Hope it can pay more attention to the future issues.

 

l   WANG Shaopei

Writer, Senior media professional, Notable commentator and columnist

It is laudable that the proposal chooses urban village as venue for 2017 UABB, since it will be helpful for expanding the influence of UABB, and convenient for Shenzhen citizens to participate in the exhibition. The relations between village and city, the meaning and value of urban villages, and features of southern cities may spark deeper thoughts by the biennale. Perhaps, UABB will have positive impact on Shenzhen's urban planning and development in the future. For example, how to protect and make good use of urban villages are topics deserve rethinking.

 

l   FENG Guochuan

Deputy Chief Architect of Zhubo Architecture Design, Scholar, Urban planning expert

From the proposal we can see that the curators are very familiar with Shenzhen's status, and have a clear understanding of previous UABBs' characteristics. Furthermore, the theme is closely related to its potential venue. The proposal is clearly structured with rich and complete contents, from which we can find that the curatorial team has abundant exhibition experience and high execution capability. The team knows the current situation of urban villages, has conducted many relevant researches and is highly capable of architectural design. I believe the proposal has certain advantages in venue design and will bring better exhibition effect.

 

l   XU Mingqi

Artistic Director of Guangzhou Grand Theatre

This proposal summarizes previous 6 UABBs, and sets urban villages as the starting point. It has accurate positioning and distinctive features. As Shenzhen is a rapid developing Special Administrative Region (SAR), using a biennale to present the strategic considerations of urban villages’ historical changes and future development has significant meanings. The proposal is practical; the curatorial team has accurate understanding of UABB and Shenzhen/Hong Kong’s urban positioning. The exhibition will present UABB with various specific cases, while also extending its international scope. It will be very exciting.

 

l   PANG Wei

Landscape architect, General manager and chief designer at Guangzhou Turen Landscape Planning

Using urban village as the exhibition venue for the 7th UABB, frankly, this curatorial proposal is the one that expresses itself most clearly, and is the most explicit and powerful one among the other proposals, and of course, this does not affect it from being the most creative and attractive one. LIU and MENG have profound experience in Shenzhen, their deep understanding of Hong Kong and Shenzhen is by no means generic. The special exhibition venue would lead to critical analysis and experimental topics, and the participation of HOU Hanru with contemporary art background, have given many attractive highlights to this proposal.

 

l   ZHANG Zhiyang

Founder, Principle architect of iNgAmE, member of 2013 UABB curatorial team

Curatorial framework is quite comprehensive. The team composition is clear, and there is a well-defined promotion plan. The program is critical in nature with deep thought.

 

l   HE Jianxiang

Co-founder of O-office Architects, participated in transformation and design work for Value Factory during 2013 UABB, exhibitor at 2015 UABB

The curatorial proposal is highly detailed and in-depth, and has clear theoretical and practical framework. It has a strong sense of urban responsibility, and tries to utilize UABB brand to promote specific renewal and integration of the city. This is indeed a unique way for UABB to stand out from the other biennales.

 

l   Ole Bouman

2013 UABB Curator, Director of Shekou Design Museum

The proposal sounds almost like an urban regeneration movement rather than just a biennale. I think the proposal has high ambition level, but also going to be risky. But I think we should all like it, because the biennale has high ambition level as well. UABB has that phenomenon as a very high ambition of which is not limited in talking about the city, but changing the city.

So this element of deploying at biennale is truly a catalyst. Your proposal almost reached the level of urban synergist.

 


 

Previous UABBs and Curators

  

2005 (1st) Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture

Theme: City, Open Door!

Venue: OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (South area of OCT-LOFT), Shenzhen

Curator: Yung Ho CHANG  

 

2007 (2nd) Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture (Shenzhen) 

Theme: City of Expiration and Regeneration

Venue: North area of OCT-LOFT, Shenzhen

Curator: MA Qingyun 

 

2009 (3rd) Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture (Shenzhen)

Theme: City Mobilization

Venue: Shenzhen Civic Square, Shenzhen Bay Avenue, Yitian Holiday Plaza

Curator: OU Ning  

 

2011 (4th) Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture (Shenzhen)

Theme: Architecture creates cities. Cities create architecture.

Venue: Shenzhen Civic Square and OCT-LOFT

Curator: Terence Riley 

 

2013 (5th) Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture (Shenzhen)

Theme: Urban Border

Venue: Shekou Industrial Zone, Nanshan District, Shenzhen

Venue A: Value Factory ( former Guangdong Float Glass Factory )

Venue B: Border Warehouse ( the Old Warehouse at Shekou Ferry Terminal )

Curator / Creative Director: Ole Bouman

Curators / Academic Directors: Li Xiangning + Jeffrey Johnson

 

2015 (6th) Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture (Shenzhen)

Theme: RE-Living the City

Venue: Dacheng Flour Factory and No.8 Warehouse, Shekou Industrial Zone, Nanshan District, Shenzhen

Sub-Venue: Xipu New Residence, Longgang District

Curators: Aaron Betsky, Alfredo Brillembourg, Hubert Klumpner, and Doreen Heng Liu

 


 

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