• The Gwangju Biennale purports to provide an impetus to the city of Gwangju to be reborn as a geographical metaphor that represents continuous changes and developments of Asia.
  • The energy derived from the duality, contradiction and cultural conflict between tradition and new identity, past and present, localism and globalism, which are characteristic of Gwangju city, will lead the city to achieve the goal of cultural glocalism.
  • The productive mutual interaction between the Gwangju Biennale and the city will open up a route towards the world.

Gwangju Biennale 2006: Aims and Objectives

  • The Gwangju Biennale aims to resolve the twofold problems of tradition and contemporaneity, localism and globalism, etc.
  • The Gwangju Biennale strives to attain a balanced status between its aesthetic/artistic quality and popularity by overcoming the feeling of estrangement that the general public has toward the contemporary arts.
  • The narrative of the Biennale is initiated from the city of Gwangju in both conceptual and practical dimensions.

Thematic Direction

  • The Gwangju Biennale suggests speculative discourses and aesthetics focused on Asia, which inter-links Gwangju, Korea, Asia and the world.
  • The theme of the Biennale seeks to clarify an Asian identity from the spectrum between substance and fantasy of Asia.
  • Unfettered nationalism, open-minded localism and the ideal of cultural coexistence are the key issues for the realization of communal visions in Asia.

Exhibition Structure

  1. The First Chapter: The History of Spirit (Tentative title)
    ‘The History of Spirit’ undertakes a diachronic survey on the spiritual history of contemporary arts, shedding light on the Asian spirit and its cultural tradition that can be observed throughout the eastern and western art histories, and focuses on the identity of Asia that is undergoing constant transformations.
    Tracing back to the root of the Asian spirit, the exhibition tracks the route and procedure of Asiaís modernization and globalization in the pursuit to re-examine and re-locate the status of Asian art in the global context and to deconstruct the dichotomy of the western and the eastern arts.
    Several sections of the exhibition will cover a wide range of works from different eras and regions from traditional masterpiece paintings of the Northeast Asia to contemporary western works influenced by the Asian spirit and philosophy, including experimental paintings, installations, media works, performances, and many more. For instance, masterpiece paintings from the modern period of Korea and China, calligraphic paintings by Abstract Expressionists, experiments of combining conceptual art and music and avant garde works by Fluxus, will be shown at each sections.
  2. The Last Chapter: Global City Network (Tentative title)
    Global City Network creates intercity networks that accentuate contemporary characteristics of Asia and provides a stage for communications between urban cultures related to urban communities and citizens activities. The results of this project will be displayed at the Biennale exhibition composed of several city-based sections.
    The exhibition will concentrate more on software aspects and contents of the theme rather than its hardware aspects of architectural and structural quality. The site-specific approach of the exhibition focuses on the process of on-going transformation and shift inside and in-between cities, which will lead to diverse discourses.
    In collaboration with various cultural institutions and alternative spaces of Northeast Asian cities and western cities with high Asian population, a Mobile Residency Program will be realized.
    Artists will be provided with an opportunity to reside in relevant cities for a certain period of time before the beginning of the Biennale to participate in diverse artistic and cultural activities such as exhibitions, workshops, publications, seminars and other events, and the results of the program will be shown at city-based sections of the exhibition.
  3. The 3rd Sector: Citizen Program (Tentative title)
    The Citizen Program accommodates various sites of Gwangju city as Biennale venues and invites the citizen to take an active part of the Biennale, directly connecting the general public to the exhibitions. Drawing attention to the city of Gwangju as a significant historical site for Koreaís spiritual/cultural heritage and traditional painting, an on/off-line network program will be designed in conjunction with the Global City Network project.
    Gwangju city ís cultural heritages and historical sites will be employed for various programs such as the relay network project, educational and promotional collaboration programs, where Gwangju citizens will be actively involved. The Night Biennale(temporary night market) and Biennale Art Fair will be organized to widen the scope of audience from the general public to experts and collectors, which will eventually add up beneficial value to the Biennale.
  • The concepts and structures of the Biennale are to be further developed and refined.