11th Shanghai Biennale

Design of the visual identity for the 11th Shanghai Biennale, curated by raqs media collective, held at the Powerstation of Art and various places in Shanghai.

A biennale being titled „WHY NOT ASK AGAIN“ isn’t something thats easy to pin down. It implies a multitude, „why not ask again“ makes it clear that there is no easy, singular (visual) answer, not even a singular question. The 6 different motifs show elements that are each consisting of 3 parts (except the folds) - all are about movement, balance, forces, matter, unfolding, exposing, something in flux.

The 3 circles are a direct link to the physical phenomenon of the 3 body problem, mentioned by the curators, which is also the title of a famous chinese science fiction trilogy.
The scale is a symbol of arguments, weighing positions, reflecting and contemplation upon a theme, a thought, an issue.
The stripes with the 3 holes stand for the object / or subject and its surrounding, its environment, which it interacts with, moves through, which it pushes away and which is sometimes only temporarily affected by it.
The folds are a self-referencial link to the first little printed matter for SHB, a seemingly random folded paper leaflet. Which talks a lot about how to move towards an inner centre from the outside. or maybe towards an answer by questioning? Or towards a question, by questioning?
The statistical curves show a similar approach or field of association as the scale, a movement of priorities, thoughts, trends, ideas, possibly the process of thinking, activity, the outcome.
The impossible figure with the three „legs“ is graphically impossible because there is a line missing to connect the 3 ends on top to the bottom part. if these lines are long enough the impossible, the enological is hidden. the shorter these „legs“ become, (in movement) the more its illogic is exposed.


Year: 2016

Creative Direction and Design: Ariane Spanier
Animations: Ariane Spanier, Áine Gibbons
Design: Stephie Becker, Áine Gibbons
Design Assistance publications: Zhang Qi