The organisation committee of the Busan Biennale has announced curator Cristina Ricupero and writer Jörg Heiser as joint Artistic Directors for the 11th Busan Biennale .

The Busan Biennale organisation committee, headed by Executive Director Choi Tae Man, selected Ricupero and Heiser’s proposal after an Open Call recruitment process.

Busan Biennale 2016, exhibition site under construction. Image courtesy Busan Biennale.

Busan Biennale 2016, exhibition site under construction. Image courtesy Busan Biennale.

Busan Biennale

Held every two years on even years since 1998, the Busan Biennale is an international contemporary art exhibition based in Busan (previously Pusan), South Korea’s second most-populous city after Seoul.

With its first edition in 1998, the Biennale integrated three different festivals that had been held in the city: the Busan Youth Biennale (which first emerged as a self-organised event by young artists in 1981), the Busan Sea Festival and the Busan Outdoor Sculpture Symposium.

With a long history of serving as a hub of contemporary art in Asia, the Busan Biennale acts as an arena for local and international communication and exchange. As an independent event, the Busan Biennale has distinguished itself from other biennials with its expression of Busan’s city identity – and its experimental and dynamic exhibitions.

Previous artistic directors include, among others, Yun Cheagab, How Art Museum, China (“Hybridising Earth, Discussing the Multitude”, Busan Biennale 2016); Olivier Kaeppelin, Director of Fondation Maeght, France (“Inhabiting the World”, Busan Biennale 2014); and Roger M. Buergel, Artistic director of Documenta XII, (“The Garden of Learning”, Busan Biennale 2012).

Open Call for Artistic Directors

In selecting the 2018 artistic directors, the organisation committee adopted a different format, with an open recruitment approach designed to identify curators capable of offering new discourses in contemporary art. In December 2017, the committee assembled an initial candidate pool with Korean and international curators from a range of backgrounds, applying as individuals and as co-directors. After careful consideration by the committee, Ricupero and Heiser’s appointment was announced in February 2018.

Cristina Ricupero and Jörg Heiser , Artistic Directors for the 2018 Busan Biennale. Image courtesy Busan Biennale

Cristina Ricupero and Jörg Heiser , Co-Artistic Directors for the 2018 Busan Biennale. Image courtesy Busan Biennale

2018 Artistic Directors: Cristina Ricupero and Jörg Heiser

Cristina Ricupero is a globally active independent curator based in Paris. She has close ties to the Korean art world, having served as European section commissioner for the Gwangju Biennale 2006, jury member for the 2012 Hermès Foundation Missulsang, and curatorial adviser for SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul 2016. Her major projects include Nuit Blanche Monaco (2016, with Heiser) and the exhibitions “Secret Societies” (2011-12) and “The Crime Was Almost Perfect” (2014). Her relationship with the Busan Biennale dates to 2011, when she was a presenter at an academic symposium, “Contemporary Art and Its Social Practices”. She previously worked as a curator at NIFCA (the Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art) in Helsinki from 2000 to 2005 and also as Associate Director of Exhibitions at the ICA in London from 2000 until 2004.

Jörg Heiser is a Berlin-based writer and editor. For almost twenty years, he has worked for the London-based global art magazine frieze, from 1998 to 2003 as Berlin-based associate editor, from 2003 to 2016 as co-editor, and also from 2011–16 as co-publisher of frieze d/e. Since 1997, he has been a regular contributor to the German national newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and is a frequent contributor to art catalogues and publications. Heiser has been the Director of the Institute for Art in Context at the University of the Arts (UdK) in Berlin since 2016, where he is also a Professor. He curated the exhibitions “Romantic Conceptualism”, Kunsthalle Nürnberg and BAWAG Foundation Vienna (2007), and “Funky Lessons”, BüroFriedrich Berlin and BAWAG Foundation Vienna (2004/2005).

As the appointment announcement notes,

The exhibition plan submitted by Ricupero and Heiser was consistently praised [throughout the process], from the academic committee screening to the selection committee review, raising hopes for an artistic discussion of Korea’s situation and Busan’s regionality while using contemporary art to pinpoint the core of the psychological issues precipitated by conflict and antagonism, which are currently emerging as worldwide issues.

More details on the Busan Biennale 2018 exhibition theme, participating artists and other important details are to be announced shortly. One of a multitude of art world events that will take place across the globe this year, the Busan Biennale is scheduled to open in September 2018.

Jessica Clifford


Related topics: curatorsbiennalesconnecting Asia to itselfevents in Koreanews

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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