The 12th Gwangju Biennale
September 7 – November 11, 2018
Gwangju Biennale 2018 employs new curatorial structure under the theme of “Imagined Borders”
- A new structure, with multiple curators to be employed instead of a system under a single artistic direction
- Venues including the Biennale Exhibition Hall, Asia Culture Center, and historical public spaces to be used for the exhibition
- The main theme of the Biennale is “Imagined Borders”
On September 11, the Gwangju Biennale Foundation initiated its twelfth edition which employs a new structure, with multiple curators, while articulating the Biennale’s characteristics, which focus on the historicity and the spatial meanings of Gwangju. Based on the experiences accumulated over the past 23 years of the Biennale, its curatorial team is expected to formulate diversified exhibitions that ruminate on both the past and the present of human civilization and explore alternatives for the future while re-illuminating the city of Gwangju.
Grounded on decades-long discourses and on-site curatorial experiences, these transitions have been made to, above all, represent the historicity and locality of Gwangju in a more effective way and to leave cultural relics for future generations of the local community.
The processes of on-site curating with multiple curators will instill new energy in the Biennale, setting up the synchronic (spatial) and diachronic (historic) pillars of the hosting city. The collective curatorship will embody a wealth of diverse ideas and discourses in the form of visual arts.
One of the plans is to discover the historical public spaces that are imbued with democratic, humanitarian and peaceful spirits throughout Gwangju – a goal that reflects the background of the origins of the Gwangju Biennale in 1995 – and link them to other exhibition spaces.
The Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall, located in Yongbong-dong which has hosted 1,414 artists and 7,640,000 audiences for the past 23 years, will be the main exhibition space and the symbolic meanings behind it will be emphasized further. Alongside the Biennale Hall, the Asia Culture Center, the Gwangju Museum of Art and other cultural and historic spaces will be used for exhibitions, reinventing the city as an enhanced site for visual art events. The citywide cultural belt will also contribute to the cultural tourism in the region.
Meanwhile, after curatorial research and two committee meetings, the Foundation had decided on “Imagined Borders” as the theme of the next Biennale.
“Imagined Borders,” a term appropriated from Benedict Anderson’s literature on nationalism titled Imagined Community, deals with the national and geopolitical reconstruction that has taken place on a global level. It will explore issues beyond geopolitical boundaries including economical, generational, psychological borders and borderlessness from diverse perspectives. Especially at a time when invisible yet iron borders – not dichotomous borders (e.g., between nations and generations) but the more complex borders among diverse elements – have emerged, the theme “Imagined Borders” will provide an opportunity to reconsider the agenda of the global community of our times.
As an integral part of lively programs related to the exhibition, the Gwangju Biennale Foundation will present the Monthly Gatherings, which includes GB Talks and Artist Studio Visit, and the Education Program for schools and communities.