Gwangju Biennale 2008 - Anual Report


The Gwangju Biennale is pleased to announce the exhibition program of the 7th Gwangju Biennale, under the leadership of the General Artistic Director, Okwui Enwezor.

Widely acknowledged as the spiritual center in the struggle for democracy in Korea, in 1995 when the first Gwangju Biennale was inaugurated, the exhibition was responding to the critical impact of the democracy movements of the 1980s and the influence of emergent forums of civil society on contemporary Korean experience. Since its founding, the Gwangju Biennale has established itself as one of the leading large scale global exhibitions and a pioneer in curatorial experiment in the field of contemporary art.

Opening on September 5, 2008, the Gwangju Biennale will continue its rigorous emphasis on innovative forms of exhibition and critical practice with a wide ranging project under the conceptual umbrella devised by the General Artistic director, Okwui Enwezor.

Annual Report: A Year in Exhibitions.

Bringing together a range of activities produced across the span of nearly eighteen months, the exhibition will serve as a hosting site, incorporating into its sequence of galleries and satellite sites activities ranging from performances, readings, film screenings, music, dance, theater, to exhibitions initiated between January 2007 and September 2008. From the obscure to the mainstream, from the local to the transnational, these activities can be understood as a chain of traveling cultural worlds and idioms, a network of incommensurable experiments in global culture. Employing the idea of the space of encounter, the biennale hopes to set up a soft, porous line between context and practice, form and medium, artist and system, institution and locality.

The exhibition program is composed of three interconnected components:

  • On the Road: This section of the biennale consists entirely of traveling exhibitions that have been produced and shown elsewhere between 2007 and 2008. It will be organized as a series of interlocking arguments, as a set of continuously elaborated relationships, juxtapositions, and structural contiguities, between cultural and exhibition contexts and institutional networks.
  • Position Papers: The second component of the exhibition will focus on new curatorial ideas, exhibition initiatives, and other proposals either by emerging curators and directors or established view points. Selected from amongst a series of Position Papers, about ten curators will be commissioned to propose an exhibition or project that reflects current thinking on the state of contemporary art and culture. Each the projects is to be seen as a work in progress, a provisional essay towards a larger horizon, and therefore will tend towards the modest, and will have no more than a maximum number of five artists in each proposal.
  • Insertions: The third area of the project will be based on a series of new projects commissioned specifically for the biennale. These new projects, to be realized across different media and disciplines, will serve as punctuation marks throughout the itinerary of the exhibition. The projects will function either as insertions within the general body of the exhibitions, or as manifestations of limited duration. Thus the projects will unfold not only according to the exhibition’s spatial logic, but as a series of activities occurring across the time of the biennale.

Okwui Enwezor: Okwui Enwezor is Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Vice President at San Francisco Art Institute. He is Adjunct Curator at International Center of Photography, New York and previously Adjunct Curator of Contemporary Art, at the Art Institute of Chicago. Enwezor is founder and editor of the critical art journal Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art published by the Africana Study Center. He was Artistic Director of Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany (1998-2002). He has also served as the Artistic Director of 2nd International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Seville, Spain (2005-2007), and 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1996-1998).

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