Georges Adéagbo, The revolution and the revolutions…!, 2016, found objects, artifacts, texts, paintings, magazines, Exhibition view. COURTESY THE ARTIST.
A case can be made that the Shanghai Biennale, widely regarded as a perfunctory affair, too disorganized and lackluster to justify its existence, now has the potential to intelligently introduce international contemporary art into a scene until recently dominated by Chinese art. And this year, that goal seems within reach, under the curatorial stewardship of Raqs Media Collective, three artists from India, who brought with them a host of Southeast Asian artists. Some 92 artists from 40 countries fill the cavernous galleries of the Power Station of Art, a reconfigured structure that opened as an art museum in 2012. The venue is a vast improvement over the biennale’s former locale—the old Shanghai Museum of Art, located in a colonialist building that was once the racecourse–clubhouse. Given its vastness, the challenge for curators was to fill the space without overwhelming and confusing viewers.