BARCELONA PAVILLION – 9th SHANGHAI BIENNIAL
The Shanghai Biennale is the highest-profile contemporary art event in Asia and has become an internationally renowned event in the art world. The 9th edition was the inaugural show for the Shanghai Powerplant of Art, Shanghai’s new museum of contemporary art. Under the thematic umbrella “Reactivation” the event focuses on artists which motivate the public, revisit or rewrite history, convert and transform energy and organize dialogues and communications respectively. The curator’s team was led by Qui Zhijie and formed by Boris Efimovich Groys, Jens Hoffmann, Johnson Chang Tsong-zung.
For the first time ever, the Biennale has included the participation of national and international cities closely related to the exhibition’s topic and the city of Shanghai, in order to contribute from a different, local perspective and establish a whole set of dialogues with the Biennale’s framework. Each city has their own City Pavilion which was curated by a local entity selected by an experts committee. Barcelona’s Pavillion was comissioned to Screen Projects, which in turn comissioned the artist Antoni Miralda for the occasion, entitled Twin Tastes & Tongues.
Taking as a starting point the fact that Barcelona & Shanghai have been twin cities since 2001, Twin Tastes & Tongues is an exploration both cities’ imaginaries, traditions, rituals, politics and ways of organisation and relation through its food and eating habits. The project aimed at drawing a visual cartography of the tastes and knowledges of the two cities, and thus explore more closely its twinning process, its similarities, its differences. Situated in the liminal space of the terrace glass walls, the work overlooks the city of Shanghai from the museum’s terrace and offers multiple standpoints from where to read it. It is composed a set of 20 tongue vynils which accompany a 9m LED screen in which a film summing up visually the experience from both cities was projected. Miralda’s project was selected to starr on the Biennale’s opening night, being projected in a 24m long LED screen just for the occasion.
TWIN TASTES & TONGUES
The film was shot in Barcelona and Shanghai in August and September by a professional team led by Miralda, including Josep Maria Civit as Director of Photography. According with the time of the year and its correspondent calendar of feasts and traditions, the scenes depict late summer-early autumn produce markets, more or less regulated; private and public kitchens and tables; different rituals involving libations, fasting or improvised banquets; gestures of sharing and giving coalescing different communities; tapas bars in Shanghai, dumplings in Barcelona, tracing the fluctuating presence and absence of one city in the other due to new global habits.
The composition of the piece is divided in two images-screens, one corresponding to each city. However the images flick and travel from one side to the other, thus visibilizing the similarities, differences, frictions and blurring the borders between one imaginary and the other.
Shanghai Biennale. Barcelona Pavillion (1 October 2012 – 31 March 2013)