The Gwangju Biennale has just announced the curators and their exhibitions for its 12th edition.
Themed “Imagined Borders”, the 12th Gwangju Biennale will feature exhibitions curated by international curators including Clara Kim, Gridthiya Gaweewong and David Teh among others.
The 12th Gwangju Biennale will explore the theme of “Imagined Borders”, proposed responses to the current times of change and uncertainty experienced worldwide. The concept recognises the limits of grand narratives, singural authorship and the necessity to “return to the complexities of multiple voices and perspectives”, in order to offer an inclusive view of our times.
The 2018 Biennale will see seven exhibitions curated by different curators spread across the city of Gwangju, including at the Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall, the Asia Culture Center and other historical sites. Artists in the shows will respond to the imagination of borders, as historical and real, experiential and abstract, imaginary and transgressive.
“Imagined Borders” references both the inaugural 1995 edition of the Gwangju Biennale titled “Beyond the Borders” and Benedict Anderson’s notion of citizenship and national identity. As the organisers explain about the 2018 edition,
The exhibitions aim to question the notion of belonging and community within today’s political and planetary crises, quite markedly changed from the early days of the biennial where globalization aimed to dissolve borders. Where have our utopian visions gone? Where are we headed?
“Imagined Borders”: seven exhibitions, one biennale
Clara Kim, The Daskalopoulos Senior Curator, International Art (Africa, Asia and Middle East) at London’s Tate Modern since 2016, will curate one of the exhibitions in “Imagined Borders”, departing from the view that “the present is informed by the past”, exploring the desire to find a place in the world and the fate of modern utopian dreams. Kim will investigate the intersection between modernism, architecture and nation-building in the mid-20th century across different geographies and contexts.
Gridthiya Gaweewong, currently Artistic Director of the Jim Thompson Art Center in Bangkok, addresses issues of social transformation confronting artists from Thailand and beyond since the Cold War. In “Imagined Borders”, she will present a show that investigates the narratives that have emerged from border conflicts and the patterns of mass-migration within Southeast Asia and beyond since the colonial period to the present.
Curator and Acting Department Head in Contemporary Art at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Rita Gonzalez and Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at LACMA Christine Y. Kim will examine the contemporary world through the lens of the digital sphere and the internet. Their exhibition will look at the politics of participation and power, the digital divide, contra-internet aesthetics, and will present “analyses of worlds with perpetually threatened access to or without internet under our current and evolving post-internet conditions”.
Yeon Shim Chung, Associate Professor, Department of Art History and Theory, Hongik University, Seoul, South Korea, and Yeewan Koon, Associate Professor of Chinese and Japanese Art and Architecture in the Department of Fine Arts at The University of Hong Kong, will work together on a presentation that will draw attention to the everyday boundaries that are mediated, fictionalised or transgressed as part of our daily lives. Their show will bring attention to aspects that are often obscured and transformed in our everyday experience.
Korean curators Sung woo Kim, Man Seok Kim and Chong-Ok Paek will bring together South Korean artists to focus on three concepts of borders: the psychological boundaries between the individual and the multitude, the logic of meeting and parting in relation to places and non-places of assembly, and symmetrical imagination of coexistence between human and nature.
Korean artist B.G. Muhn, Professor at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., will focus on the art of North Korea, by rethinking the limitations of the aesthetic border between Socialist Realism and the Western concept of “Art for Art’s sake”. Meanwhile, Singapore-based curator David Teh will address the history of the Gwangju Biennale, through a series of “returns” designed to reactivate past editions in vibrant dialogue with the present one.
C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia
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