12th Gwangju Biennale 2018
The 2018 Gwangju Biennale runs 7 September - 11 November. On the theme of Imagined Borders, the 12th Gwangju Biennale will see 165 artists from 43 different countries participate in a series of seven exhibitions and the GB Commission exploring the political, cultural, physical and emotional concepts of borders in today’s global community.
For this edition of the Gwangju Biennale, a collective of 11 curators from around the world will devise a program of thematic exhibitions, in addition to a monumental new program, the GB Commission and a series of Pavilion Projects taking place across the city of Gwangju. Multiple curators from the UK to LA, Singapore to Seoul have brought their diverse perspectives and expertise to the Biennale and collaborated on projects inspired by the concept of Imagined Borders.
Based on their expertise in sociology, politics, migration and the refugee experience, the curators confirmed a list of 163 participating artists within seven thematic exhibitions and the GB Commission which will reflect contemporary society and amplify the level of diverse voices in the cultural community.
Highlights of the presentation will include the Cuban artist collective Los Carpinteros, Belgian-born and Mexico-based artist Francis Alÿs, Jordan-based curator and artist Ala Younis who devised the first Kuwait Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, and French artist based between Berlin and Algeria, Kader Attia, whose work explores the legacy of migration, colonialism and trade to interrogate the idea of a collective cultural memory.
The increase in global visibility for Asian artists is represented through this expanded program of artists from across the continent; including Thailand-born filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival; Shilpa Gupta who explores Asian identity in her work; Ho Tzu Nyen whose Singapore Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale brought an immersive, panoramic view of pre-colonial Singapore to the Italian island; and Yoshimoto Nara, pioneer of Japanese pop art will participate in this year’s Gwangju Biennale.
The GB Commission
The GB Commission seeks to explore the history of the city of Gwangju and the origin of the Gwangju Biennale, founded to sublimate the scars of the Gwangju Democratization Movement in 1980 into culture and arts. In the process, the Foundation hopes to deliver the Biennale’s ongoing values to audiences far beyond the city limits. Four participating artists, Adrián Villar Rojas, Mike Nelson, Kader Attia and Apichatpong Weerasethakul have been commissioned to develop new site specific works, exploring the historic sites throughout the city of Gwangju in which their work will be displayed.
The Pavilion Project
The 12th Gwangju Biennale will, for the first time, host a series of Pavilion Projects beginning with three leading international art institutions to connect the Gwangju region to a wider arts community. The Gwangju Civic Center, Mugaksa Temple, Leekangha Art Museum, and Alternative Space Hothouse will host projects from the Palais de Tokyo, Helsinki International Artist Program (HIAP), and Philippine Contemporary Art Network (PCAN). The Pavilion Project will be a forum for exchange and promotion between countries to present emerging artists from their own countries alongside Korean artists.
Founded in 1995 in memory of spirits of civil uprising of the 1980 repression of the Gwangju Democratization Movement, the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea is Asia's oldest biennial of contemporary art.