At 17 April 2017, the Briefing of Shanghai Urban Space Art Season (SUSAS) 2019, which is hosted by Shanghai Urban Sculptures Committee and organized by Shanghai Urban Planning and Natural Resources Bureau, Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism, and Yangpu District People’s Government, will be held in Shanghai Fashion Center, Yangpu District.
After the successes in 2015 and 2017, SUSAS 2019 continues to discuss topics related to urban spaces based on the current urban renewal in Shanghai. The theme of SUSAS 2019， which finds its roots in the “River and Creek” strategy of public space development dictated by Shanghai Municipal Committee of CPC and Shanghai Municipal People’s Government， focuses on a globally concerned topic: How Waterfronts Bring Wonderful Life To People. Thematic exhibitions, site projects and various public activities, in collaboration with “Millions of Citizens Observe Shanghai” and other tourist-cultural programs, will, in a period of about two months, show the world how Shanghai has connected, enhanced the city’s myriad of waterfront spaces and what more is to expect. The main exhibition, which begins at the end of September, will be hosted in the Yangpu Waterfront area.
The briefing will be attended by Wang Xunguo (deputy director of Shanghai Urban Planning and Natural Resources Bureau), Hang Chunfang (deputy secretary of party committee of Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism), Xu Jianhua (deputy mayor of Yangpu District), as well as Fram Kitagawa (chief curator of SUSAS 2019), Ruan Xing (curator of the sector Planning and Architecture) and Zhang Ming (chief architect).
To advance the transforming process of Shanghai, promote its organic renewal, enhance its public spaces and soft power, strengthen its competitiveness as a global city and create a charming showcase for it, Shanghai Municipal People’s Government approved to initiate the biannual SUSAS in October 2014. SUSAS is hosted by Shanghai Urban Sculptures Committee, organized by Shanghai Urban Planning and Natural Resources Bureau, Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism, and the People’s Government of the district in which the event is held each year. In principle, SUSAS is held every other year from September to November.
As a continuation of the EXPO2010 spirit “Better City-Better Life”, SUSAS, guided by the idea its concept “Culture Enriches City, Art Enlightens City”, aims for “a city of art” and “art of life” through “implanting art into spaces” and “exhibition + site projects”. In this way, practices of public art and urban renewal are introduced into exhibitions while the accomplishments of SUSAS may be applied to urban renewal at work. Each SUSAS is intended, as an “EXPO that never closes”, to make a hot cultural topic, preserve masterpieces created by international artists and beautify a section of the city.
Urban Spaces are more than where exhibitions are held, but are essential exhibited items of SUSAS, allowing citizens to experience how the spaces are enhanced aesthetically. This is a key feature that sets SUSAS apart from other cultural events. SUSAS follows the strategy of “Rotating Exhibition”, that is, with the hot issues about public space improvements which are closely related to the city's current developments in mind, the main exhibition of each SUSAS is allotted to a different area of the city by Shanghai Urban Planning and National Resources Bureau and Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism. The main exhibition of SUSAS 2015 was held at the old hangar in Xuhui West Bund, and SUSAS 2017 at the 80,000-ton Silo of Pudong Minsheng Port, preliminarily establishing the image of SUSAS as a cultural brand. Besides the main exhibition, each SUSAS includes site projects which fit into its theme and are found in many parts of Shanghai, joint exhibitions in collaboration with various elements of the society, and colorful public activities under the title of SUSAS College, promoting the influence of SUSAS as a whole.
Shanghai is a city born by and of waters. Its twin mothers, Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek, have witnessed how Shanghai evolved from a small fishing village to a modern metropolitan in the course of a century, and how a modern industrial and business world has developed here. The banks of Huangpu River used to be a forest of plants, wharfs and warehouses, and for a long time the Bund was the only section along the river with intimate terms with people while wherever else the tides were overwhelmed by the steam whistling.
Thanks to the EXPO 2010，the functions of Huangpu banks began to change, which marked a new stage of Shanghai urban development characterized by increasingly emphasis on urban qualities and determined responses to the citizens’ prospect of lovely life with beautiful spaces.
In December 2017, by virtue of the significant arrangements made by Shanghai Municipal Committee of CPC and Shanghai Municipal People’s Government as well as the continuing efforts of all involved units, the 45km Huangpu Waterfront Connection, a great feat of public space and one of the most important results of recent urban renewal in Shanghai, was completed. The project offers scenic activity spaces for the citizens and adds a brilliant chapter to the global history of city construction with its deep humane concerns.
At 31 January 2019, Shanghai Municipal People’s Government introduced the “Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Planning and Constructions Along Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek” and officially approved the “Construction Plan Along the Banks of Huangpu River (2018-2035)” and “Construction Plan Along the Banks of Suzhou Creek (2018-2035)”. These programmatic documents further confirm the target of Huangpu River banks as a concentrated exhibition area for the developmental capacity level of a global city, and Suzhou Creek banks as a typical demonstration area for a livable megacity.
With summarizing the achievements in constructing public spaces along the Huangpu River and the Suzhou Creek and visioning the marvelous future of the River and the Creek from a macro perspective, the theme of SUSAS 2019, which begins at the end of September, is thus determined. SUSAS 2019 invites people to personally feel the Huangpu River Connection as a public space by implanting art into spaces and to discuss the global issue “how waterfronts bring wonderful life to people” at the forum created by incorporating exhibitions with practices.
The theme of main exhibition, as proposed by the chief curator, is Encounter for encounters of people,, water and bank, art and urban spaces, history and future which in turn incite more beautiful life and emotional encounters and create inerasable city memories at the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. Li Qiang, Municipal Party Secretary of Shanghai, pointed out that the banks of Huangpu River should be the city’s parlor. Now that the parlor is completed, SUSAS 2019 is inviting the world to encounter Shanghai.
The 15.5km of Yangpu Waterfront along the Huangpu River, with its abundance of industrial heritages, is a century-long record of the development of Shanghai as an industrial city and the contributions which the working class of Shanghai have made to the New China. While the plants and warehouses along the southern part of Yangpu Waterfront (south of Yangshupu Road, north of Huangpu River, east of Qinghuangdao Ferry Terminal, west of Dinghai Bridge; 5.5km in length) are removed, an area of 1.8km2 in the city center is now available for repurposing. In the “Construction Plan Along the Banks of Huangpu River (2018-2035)”, the Yangpu Waterfront, designated for technology and innovations, is one of the key transforming areas after Shanghai enters the stage of urban renewal. The District Committee of CPC and People’s Government of Yangpu, which are paying great attention to innovative development modes of Yangpu Waterfront, have offered the public spaces and historical buildings along the southern part of Yangpu Waterfront (5.5km) to collaborate with SUSAS this year to invigorate this area with the charms of art. This critical measure makes possible a significant breakthrough on the part of SUSAS, which will for the first time hold its exhibition outdoors. In this way, the vision of incorporating public art works into public spaces themselves is realized.
The venue of SUSAS 2019 Main Exhibition is the historical site of Shanghai Shipyard, including the dock and the Maoma (linen and wool) warehouse, while the outdoors public art works will be arranged along the 5.5km of waterfront public space from Qinhuangdao Ferry Terminal to Shanghai Fashion Center.While the public space west of Yangpu Bridge (2.8km) has been connected and opened, its eastern counterpart of 2.7km will be opened in September, at the same time with SUSAS. A number of industrial heritages are successively renovated, some of which restored to their historical appearances. What’s more, a series of functional projects are in orderly progress.
The main exhibition will demonstrate the stories and topics of waterfront spaces in two sections: “Urban Space Art” and “Planning & Architecture”.
The main exhibition’s chief curator is Fram Kitagawa, an internationally renowned artist and curator who has long been dedicated to boosting regional economy with art. The Urban Space Art section, headed by Fram Kitagawa and assisted by Yoshiyuki Kawazoe ，professor of the University of Tokyo, will be an artistic anchor along the 5.5km of Waterfront Yangpu, with its twenty or so permanent installments as on-site productions of international artists with respect to local history, character and vision. Meanwhile, to motivate artists interested in urban public art to participate, SUSAS 2019 has initiated an international call-for-work for five slots of public art, and the outstanding pieces have the opportunities to be permanent installments at the Yangpu Waterfront. For more information, please check our official website (http://www.susas.com.cn) or our WeChat prescription account.
The curator of Planning and Architecture is Ruan Xing, Dean of School of Design, Shanghai Jiaotong University. This section will vividly demonstrate the concepts of waterfront planning in China and beyond as well as the achievements and prospect of construction projects along Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek. Besides an intellectually interesting show, it is intended to encourage deliberated thinking and contribute to a general consensus about the aims of waterfront development. Prof. Ruan has great knowledge of architectural theories and experiences in both teaching and site projects. He used to be Director of Architecture, Built Environment UNSW Sydney and a curator of the Venice Biennale of Architecture with theme “Waterfront Spaces”.
The chief architect of SUSAS 2019 is Zhang Ming, the Vice Head of Department of Architecture, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University. He is responsible for the overall architectural design of the reutilized Dock which is an essential exhibited item and the venue design with other architects involved in designing or constructing the public spaces of Yangpu Waterfront, thus establishing the overall image of SUSAS 2019. Indeed, the Phase One Demonstration Section of Yangpu Waterfront Public Space Connection Project was the work of Prof. Zhang and his Original Design Studio.
The on-site site projects will introduce a number of recent exemplar waterfront projects. During the season, citizen activities will be held where the projects are, experimenting with a new culture-tourism fusional model and leading the inhabitants to experience these charming spaces in collaboration with Millions of Citizens Observe Shanghai and other programs involving both cultural and tourist elements.
The joint exhibitions will invite various elements of the society to organize public art exhibitions and cultural events related to space, art and urban renewal during the Art Season, lending their urging voices for beautiful urban spaces.
The public activities under the title of SUSAS College whose venues are supplied by SUSAS, including serial forums, lectures and shows, follow the theme of SUSAS 2019. They provide professionals with a platform to exchange ideas and the citizens with opportunities to play a part in the creative activities of SUSAS.
In partnership with China Shanghai International Arts Festival, Shanghai Citizens Art Festival and Shanghai Tourism Festival, and with the quadruple aims of “Service in Shanghai, Made in Shanghai, Shopping in Shanghai, Culture of Shanghai”, SUSAS will offer its venues for diversified art-educational activities for the citizens, affording lovely life with lovely spaces. For more information, please check our official website (http://www.susas.com.cn) or our WeChat prescription account.
To ensure SUSAS as a professionally and academically competent event, SUSAS 2019 has constituted its academic committee of experts in urban planning, architecture, landscape, art, communication studies, curation, sociology and other fields. The responsibilities of Academic Committee include: evaluate the curational plans and exhibited items; assessing the results of SUSAS 2019; and advising or discussing about the next SUSAS and the long-term strategy of SUSAS. The president of SUSAS 2019 Academic Committee is Prof. Zheng Shiling, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Urban space is the carrier of urban life, and beautiful life needs the support of beautiful space. We hope that SUSAS 2019 will be an opportunity for the citizens of Shanghai to know and feel what’s new about the city. We hope that, with our coordinated efforts, SUSAS will be a reason for the world to be attentive, affectionate and admiring of Shanghai. We hope that SUSAS will get those who concern the development of Yangpu District and Shanghai in general together for discussion and creation. We hope that SUSAS will be an “EXPO that never closes” to foster idea communications and anchor innovative powers.