The 7th Gwangju Biennale
The 7th Gwangju Biennale takes place from September 5 to November 9 in the city of Gwangju, South Korea. It is curated by the artistic director Okwui Enwezor and the co-curators Hyunjin Kim and Ranjit Hoskote.
Under the title Annual Report: A Year in Exhibitions, the 7th Gwangju Biennale is a report on the distribution system of artistic and cultural forms and a reflection on the intermediary gap between artists, producers, practitioners, and audiences. Consisting of 127 artists from 36 countries, Annual Report is developed around three principal components: first, On the Road is a report on 36 recent exhibitions that have occurred or have been exhibited elsewhere between 2007 and 2008; Position Papers is a platform dedicated to curatorial proposals and experiments in exhibition practices by curators working in Southeast Asia, North Africa, South Korea, and the United States (Patrick D. Flores, Jang Un Kim, Abdellah Karroum, Sung-Hyen Park, and Claire Tancons); finally, Insertions presents a series of new and independent projects, either commissioned specifically for the biennale or invited as proposals into the exhibition framework.
All three elements of the Biennale bring together a range of activities produced across the span of nearly eighteen months. The exhibition will serve as hosting site, incorporating into its sequence of galleries and sites a series of activities ranging from performances, readings, film screenings, music, dance, theater, to quite a few very unique examples of contemporary exhibition-making. Using the notion of the space of encounter, the biennale hopes to explore models of cultural exchange, setting up a soft, porous line between context and practice, form and medium, artist and system, institution and locality.
Some of the highlights of the program include Fassbinder's restored movie Berlin Alexanderplatz which will be shown for the first time in Asia in its entirety, running for more than 13 hours, in Gwangju Cinema; Gordon Matta-Clark's full-scale retrospective You are the Measure, which also travels to Asia for the first time; the street procession project Spring curated by Claire Tancons including samba drummers in the streets of Gwangju; the premier of the Johannesburg-based composer Joachim Schonfeldt's new sculpture and composition; Hasaan Khan's presenting an evening of continuous mixture of older and newer music works; and the launch of RADIO APARTMENT 22 by Abdellah Karroum ( http://www.radioapartment22.com ).
Okwui Enwezor, the artistic director of the 7th Gwangju Biennale has pointed out that: "2008 marks the year in which no less than ten biennials and triennials are set to open in September in the Asia-Pacific region alone. Anchored by the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the convergence of these events and the various national and regional agendas – cultural, economic, political – that define them, exemplify both the magnitude of the changes taking place in Asia, but also the scale and ambition within which they are occurring. Such scale and ambition, and the confidence with which they are pursued have led to the idea of this moment possibly being the Asian century."
The exhibition and the accompanying programs also reflect Gwangju Biennale's global commitment to various forms of cultural production. The Global Institute, held in collaboration with the Korean National University of Arts, Seoul; Chonnam National University, Gwangju; the San Francisco Art Institute; and the Royal College of Art, London, consists of the programs Open Studio and Arenas and Systems, organized into a series of workshops and clinics beginning in mid-August. Also, a series of plenary sessions based in Seoul and Beijing, China, collectively entitled Formations of Global Society and Domains of Public Culture will be held this fall, formulated around three broad themes: civil society as a form of coalition building; civil society as a platform of the global multitude; and civil society in relation to nihilism. Furthermore, a symposium and an associated two day seminar entitled The Politics of Spectacle and the Global Exhibition will run o ver a period of four days, from September 24 to September 27, in response to changes shaping the distribution of global culture.
The 7th Gwangju Biennale will take place in different venues of the city of Gwangju, including the Biennale Hall, the Gwangju Museum of Art, the Uijae Museum of Korean Art, the Cinema Gwangju, and the Daein Traditional Market.
[Editor] Mark Lee