2021 Chengdu Biennale
November 6, 2021–April 6, 2022
Under the guidance of the Chengdu City Culture Broadcasting and Tourism Department, hosted by the Chengdu Art Academy (Chengdu Art Gallery) and co-hosted by Chengdu City Construction Investment Management Group, the SUPER FUSION 2021 Chengdu Biennale takes place from November 6, 2021 to April 6, 2022 in two venues in the Tianfu Art Park—the Chengdu Museum of Contemporary Art and Tianfu Gallery.
With the chairman of the China Artists Association and director of Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts Fan Di’an as chief curator and art historian Lu Peng as director of the academic committee, the exhibition brings together art specialists from all over the world to participate as members of a team of curators. The Biennale will present over 500 pieces from almost 300 artists, providing the people of Chengdu with a wide range of artworks that reflect the diverse and responsive nature of Chengdu’s artistic and cultural climate, while boosting the status of the city as a cultural capital.
The Biennale and the City: The Urban-Artistic Connection
A biennale is one of the most influential forms of international art exhibition and is an opportunity to present the spirit of the city in which it is hosted. As an international, cultural and academic event held on a large scale, it is an ideal platform for exchanging artistic ideas and displaying the latest achievements and innovations of art—both local and global. Chengdu is a city of unique character, the result of a fusion of disparate cultural and social elements. As such it is a rich source of inspiration for artists and a perfect location for an art biennale.
In recent years, art and culture have become an essential aspect of China’s development, and contemporary art is a vital part of this. The city of Chengdu in particular is engaged in a new model for urban development that puts people at the center. SUPER FUSION 2021 Chengdu Biennale is an important element of this project, bringing culture to the fore and acting as a catalyst for artistic activity in the city of Chengdu and Sichuan province. Its grand scale, contemporary outlook, international openness, and global impact will help cement Chengdu’s position as an international city of culture.
SUPER FUSION: The Philosophy of the Chengdu Biennale
The theme of the 2021 Chengdu Biennale is “SUPER FUSION.” Driven by a concern for the fate of humanity and the development of culture, it hopes to fuse the local and the global, the traditional and the avant-garde, the past and the modern, in order to present art in its multidimensional, cross-disciplinary aspect, providing an insight into the world of contemporary art in China and overseas. It is also a chance to present the spirit of Chengdu and its commitment to providing access to the ever-evolving field of contemporary art.
The Biennale consists of 8 thematic exhibitions, 17 parallel exhibitions, and an international Museum Director Summit entitled “Future Co-Conception.” The eight main themed exhibitions are: Polymorphic Co-Existence (curated by Fan Di’an, Lu Peng, Qiu Zhijie, Zhang Zikang, Yang Wei and Ji Shaofeng), which emphasizes the complex systems of interconnectivity within contemporary culture; Urban Co-Habitation (curated by Fang Zhenning and Han Tao), which explores art in the city; Technological Co-Respondence (curated by Qiu Zhijie and Jeffery Shaw), which focuses on the relationship between human and machine; Zeitgeist Co-Evolution (curated by Ji Yujie and Zhou Bo), which centers on youth, art and fashion; Ecological Co-Development (curated by Wang Shaoqiang and Jia Yunbo), which is an exhibition of international ecological art; Craft Co-Operation (curated by He Yangui and Li Keke), which looks at the development of traditional artistic techniques within a contemporary context; Ethnic Co-Creation (curated by Wu Hongliang and Xue Jiang), which draws from the artistic work of various ethnic groups in Sichuan; and Artistic Co-Inspiration (curated by Lu Peng and Wang Chunchen), which presents collaborative work created by art students from all over the world.
272 artists from a total of 35 countries and regions have been invited to join, including such international figures as Anish Kapoor and Tony Cragg from the United Kingdom, Katharina Grosse from Germany, and Chinese artists Xu Bing, Zhang Xiaogang, Zeng Fanzhi, Song Dong and Cao Fei. As well as featuring internationally renowned Chengdu artists like Zhou Chunya and He Duoling, the biennale will also present works by the new generation of young local artists.
An exchange of ideas: International Conference of Museum Directors
The arrival of the Tianfu Gallery and Chengdu Museum of Contemporary Art as new fixtures in the cultural landscape of Chengdu provides an opportunity to discuss the future of the art museum in a globalized era. Recent events have resulted in a series of difficult challenges for art museums the world over. As we reconsider the primary function of the art museum, we must also learn how to adapt to the needs of society and bridge the boundaries between formerly distinct disciplines if we hope to broaden the horizons of the art museum.
Art museums have flourished in China in recent years and are now a part of the global artistic and cultural environment. Art museums across the world must work together to face the opportunities and challenges of going forward in a post-COVID era. With this in mind, Future Co-Conception has been chosen as the theme of the conference, which will see figures from over thirty museums around the world share their reflections on the past and expectations for the future. This exchange of ideas will take place both online and offline, providing art enthusiasts around the globe with the opportunity to witness this multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary discussion.
Chain reaction: 17 parallel exhibitions
As well as the main themed exhibitions and the international conference of museum directors, the 2021 Chengdu Biennale will also feature ten parallel exhibitions bringing the spirit of the Biennale to artistic spaces across the city of Chengdu. These parallel exhibitions provide a platform for young artists and curators to showcase the eclectic and vibrant work of local art organizations and artists. It will also include a range of events, such as lectures and educational seminars.
As one of the largest-scale art biennales of the post-COVID era, the 2021 Chengdu Biennale embodies the vitality of Chengdu’s cultural development and the fruits of its artistic labors. It will present to the world the receptive, confident and diverse nature of Chinese contemporary art and bring the world’s gaze once more to focus upon Chengdu. From this historic city will burst forth the allure and dynamism of contemporary culture, suffusing its streets with the spirit of art and the esthetic.