The 5th Anyang Public Art Project: pondering art and society

Opening in October 2016, APAP 5 will feature a roster of significant Korean and international artists.

The South Korean public art project in the city of Anyang has recently announced its invited artists, whose works will be curated by Jang Hyejin and Park Jaeyong, and directed by Eungie Joo, curator of Sharjah Biennale 12.

Im Heung-soon, 'Bukhansan', 2015, HD video, 26m:00s. Image courtesy the artist and APAP.

Im Heung-soon, ‘Bukhansan’, 2015, HD video, 26 min. Image courtesy the artist and APAP.

Anyang is a city that retains a strong spiritual significance, surrounded by lush nature such as the Gwanak, Samseong, Suri, Cheongye and Morak Mountains, as well as eight rivers and streams. Located in South Korea’s Gyeonggi Province, approximately 20 kilometres south of Seoul, the city ranks as the 15th largest city in the country. Anyang takes its name from a historic temple founded during the Goryeo Dynasty (918–1392 ACE), Anyang-sa, named for the Buddhist concept of heaven, or the utopia where people wish to be reborn.

Anyang, first developed during the Japanese occupation, was an official satellite city during the expansion of Seoul. The city suffered massive devastation during the Korean War, industrial pollution from the now defunct textile and paper manufacturing industries, and land displacement from flooding in the 1970s. Its rebirth has split the city in two major areas: the wealthy bedroom community of Pyeongchon to the east, and an aging downtown in Manan-gu to the west.

View of the Anyang Art Park from Anyang Peak, a production by MVDRV at the 1st edition of APAP. Image courtesy APAP.

View of the Anyang Art Park from Anyang Peak, a production by MVDRV at the 1st edition of APAP. Image courtesy APAP.

It is in this urban tableau, which embodies symbolic rebirth, that the Anyang Public Art Project (APAP) takes place since 2005, creating links between architecture, design and art. APAP is currently the only recurring international art event dedicated to public art in Korea. The press release writes:

Today the people of Anyang live tactile experiences of work, school, family, neighborhood, city, and nation. And like many of us, they also live in an increasingly collapsed world of real and simulated experience, striving to maintain their specificity, pace, and economic stability. A city long in service to others, its art and development initiative, the Anyang Public Art Project (APAP) sought to reassert a unique cultural presence. Since 2005, the project has brought over 80 art and architectural interventions to the city, yet continues to struggle for relevance locally and nationally.

mixrice, 'Light of a Factory', production still, 2016. Image courtesy the artists and APAP.

mixrice, ‘Light of a Factory’, production still, 2016. Image courtesy the artists and APAP.


Opening on 15 October 2016, the Anyang Public Art Project will run for two months until 15 December. It will see the participation of over 20 artists and collectives based in Korea and internationally, as well as ones working in Anyang and the region.

The final list of participating artists will be revealed in September. So far, the invited artists include, among others:

  • House of Natural Fiber/HONF (founded 1999, Yogyakarta, Indonesia)
  • Michael Joo (b. 1966 US. L/W New York)
  • Kim Beom (b. 1963 Korea. L/W Seoul) + Choi Seungho (b.1984, L/W Seoul)
  • mixrice (founded 2002, Seoul, Korea)
  • Oscar Murillo (b. 1986 Colombia. L/W London)
  • Damián Ortega (b. 1967 Mexico. L/W Mexico City)
  • Park Chan-kyong (b. 1965 Korea. L/W Seoul)
  • Stone & Water (founded 2002, Anyang, Korea)
  • SUPERFLEX (founded 1993, Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Adrián Villar Rojas (b. 1980 Argentina. L/W Rosario)
  • Danh Võ (b. 1975 Vietnam. L/W Mexico City & Berlin)
Artistic Director Eungie Joo. Image courtesy Sharjah Foundation.

Artistic Director Eungie Joo. Image courtesy Sharjah Foundation.

The artistic director of APAP 5 is Eungie Joo, who curated Sharjah Biennial 12 (“The past, the present, the possible”, 2015). Joo was Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Programs at the New Museum, New York from 2007 to 2012, where she led the Museum as Hub initiative, curated the 2012 Triennial, The Ungovernables and published the Art Spaces Directory (2012), a guide to over 400 independent art spaces from 97 countries. She was also commissioner of the Korean Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 and Founding Director and Curator of the Gallery at REDCAT, Los Angeles (2003–07). Previous artistic directors of APAP include Lee Young Chul, Kim Sungwon, Kyong Park and Beck Jee-sook.

APAP Tour. Image courtesy APAP.

APAP Tour. Image courtesy APAP.

Joo has appointed Jang Hyejin and Park Jaeyong as curators of APAP 5. Jang previously served as curatorial team manager of SeMA Biennale, Mediacity Seoul 2014: Ghosts, Spies, and Grandmothers. Park was curator of exhibitions at Ilmin Museum of Art, Seoul. Jang and Park are founders of the curatorial project Work on Work.

APAP 5 will begin with community workshops and research starting this summer, then officially opening on 15 and 16 October, with public programmes and temporary works on view until 15 December. In November, House of Natural Fiber (HONF), a media art laboratory based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, will present Anyang Public Lab, a research programme, creative incubation programme, and public project presentation, whose aim is broadening the exchange of skills between artists and creative people with entrepreneurs and technologists.

On site at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, 2015. Image courtesy dosa, inc.

On site at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, 2015. Image courtesy dosa, inc.

APAP 5, as its predecessors have done, will present a significant programme and collection of artworks that aim to recognise the uniqueness of the place and the importance of the relationship between art and society, community and the world, as APAP writes:

APAP 5 recognizes the uniqueness of this place and wonders: how can we experience meaningful, shared moments in real time? How can such experiences improve our comprehension of the larger world? How can we expand our understanding of our roles in intersecting communities that come together to form a society? And how can we appreciate the responsibilities and dreams such roles require?

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia


Related Topics: biennials, public art, Asian artists, events in Korea

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