11th Gwangju Biennale
2. 9. – 6. 11. 2016

Temperature check

December 31, 2016

What did the 11th Gwangju Biennale do?

The yearlong run of the 11th Gwangju Biennale—The Eighth Climate: What Does Art Do? has come to an end. Officially beginning with a Monthly Gathering organized in collaboration with the Gwangju-based art collective and “local curatorial associate” Mite-Ugro in December 2015 and the first Infra

December 7, 2016

The Mite-Ugro Art and Theory Book Collection

One month after the official ending of the 11th Gwangju Biennale, the donation-based Mite-Ugro Art and Theory Book Collection consists of more than 600 volumes. Friends, peers and colleagues have generously donated books which are kept in the Mite Ugro project space in the Daein Market, Gwangju. A r

November 25, 2016

Tyler Coburn's GB11 Commission acquired by Seodaemun Museum of Natural History, Seoul

We are happy to announce that Tyler Coburn's GB11 Commission Ergonomic Futures was acquired by Seodaemun Museum of Natural History in Seoul. Tyler Coburn’s Ergonomic Futures begins with a question: Is it possible, at some point in the future, that our bodies experience such a degree of evolutio

November 6, 2016

GB11 Publication by Metahaven on sale online

The first of two publications of GB11, titled The Eighth Climate: What Does Art Do?, it provides an introduction to the work of each participating artist, an introduction to this edition of the Gwangju Biennale, Q&As between artists and curators exploring possible and multiple ways of reading the wo

November 2, 2016

Infra-School - lecture by Ingela Ihrman at RAT SCHOOL

Saturday, 5 November, 8.00 PM Ingela Ihrman's practice moves freely between performance art, installations, and writing. Costumes and staged situations are reoccurring elements in her presentations, bringing creatures into life while i.e. giving birth or blooming. Her work is characterized by tac

October 29, 2016

SNUAC-Gwangju Biennale Workshop - Concrete Responses: What Does Art Do?

Tuesday 1 November 11:00-18:00 Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall, Geosigi Hall The workshop “Concrete Responses: What Does Art Do?” gather scholars, GB participating artists and curators, and other cultural producers to share articulating responses to the question, “what does art do?” a

October 29, 2016

Inter-Asia and the Other Worlds: Wild Connectivity

Inter-Asia Biennale Forum, organized with the 11th Gwangju Biennale as part of its Infra-School program On the occasion of the finissage of the 11th Gwangju Biennale, an Inter-Asia Biennale Forum co-organized by Inter-Asia School and the 11th Gwangju Biennale will take place over three days fro

October 28, 2016

You buy a collection of frogs - Bernd Krauß by Candace Goodrich (CuratorLab)

The different modes of transportation that we utilize while traveling to a foreign land, unequivocally dictate the level and type of experience and engagement we have with a place and culture. On the surface, the seemingly minuscule distinction between an air-conditioned taxi verse a bus that fills

October 28, 2016

I feel like a mobile partisan artist - Babi Badalov in conversation with Domna Gounari (CuratorLab)

Babi Badalov’s Car-Pet-Alism installation spreads all the way through the corridor leading towards the 2nd floor of the 11th Gwangju Biennale main exhibition space. Hundreds of multi-sized paper and fabric cut outs, photos, personal objects, intelligently manipulated words and phrases with strong

October 28, 2016

United to what? - On a new film commission by Ahmet Öğüt for GB11 by Florin Bobu (CuratorLab)

I encountered the latest work of Ahmet Öğüt United-for the first time in Gwangju, in the frame of the 11th Gwangju Biennale The Eighth Climate (What does art do?), displayed in the public space on an advertising billboard. I thought about it and saw it again in my hotel room in Stockholm and once

October 28, 2016

In Focus: The off-site artist commissions of GB11 - by Jérôme Malpel (CuratorLab)

The Eight Climate (What does art do?) biennale takes place in the South Korean city of Gwangju. The city became an important and powerful location in the struggle for democracy in the country, where peaceful demonstrations were suppressed by military forces, their political uprising leading to a vio

October 28, 2016

The material world is very existential - Ane Graff in conversation with Madelene Gunnarsson (CuratorLab)

One of my most enriching encounters during the 11th Gwangju Biennale, 2016, was meeting Norwegian artist Ane Graff who exhibited the work “Mineral Breath, Metal Mouth”. Her work is an ongoing artistic investigation in the nature of matter and how we understand and experience the physical world a

October 28, 2016

Uninhabitable spaces for contemporary art - Céline Condorelli in conversation with Nikki Kane and Christine Langinauer (CuratorLab)

For her 11th Gwangju Biennale commission, artist Céline Condorelli has occupied in-between spaces in the exhibition areas, a balcony and an entryway between galleries in the Biennale Hall. Here, she presented two of three new works made for the Biennale, each of which creates an active, ‘living

October 28, 2016

Q/A with Ayesha Sultana by Saima Usman (CuratorLab)

Ayesha Sultana was born in Jessore, Bangladesh and is now based in Dhaka. She received her Post-Graduate Diploma in Art Education from Beaconhouse National University, Lahore Pakistan, in 2007-2008. As a constantly evolving process, Ayesha’s work could not be identified as belonging to a single ar

October 25, 2016

Interview with Babi Badalov - video by the Gwangju Biennale International Curator Course

BABI BADALOV CAR-PET-ALISM, 2016 We have followed artist Babi Badalov during his on-site realization of CAR-PET-ALISM. The work is a collection of images forming a large-scale wall installation, where fragmented and combined words in many languages are juxtaposed with pieces of painted textile

October 25, 2016

"Dawn Breaks" by Jewyo Rhii and Jihyun Jung - video by the Gwangju Biennale International Curator Course

JEWYO RHii + JIHYUN JUNG DAWN BREAKS, 2016 This short video followssequences from rehearsals of Dawn Breaks, project by artists Jewyo Rhii and Jihyun Jung. This multiple-installation project, occupying both inside and the outside spaces of the Biennale structure, required an intense and fascinat

October 25, 2016

Fernando García-Dory's "The Lament of The Newt" - video by the Gwangju Biennale International Curator Course

FERNANDO GARCÍA-DORY + DULE NALE THE LAMENT OF THE NEWT, 2016 The video shows the beginning of the production of The Lament of the Newt, a collective performance in defense of the last rice field in Gwangju. Fernando García-Dory, Hyun Yeoung-Eun, and Lim Inza, together with the Hansaebong Dur

September 30, 2016

Monthly Gathering - October

Program: ​20 October 4-5pm The Art Work in Focus group discussion of Toxic, Opaque, To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of their Desperation by Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz. At Biennale Exibition Hall (G5) 21 O

September 30, 2016

Online streaming from Flo Kasearu House Museum's garden

Follow this link to accompany the works at Flo Kasearu's House Museum Garden, where South Korean gardeners are undertaking a collective project. Stay tuned! flokasearu.eu

September 30, 2016

Meditation: Ingela Ihrman and Gwangju Federation for Environmental Movement

During the opening days, artist Ingela Ihrman met up with collective A Drop of Water and a Trap of Earth, from the Gwangju Federation for Environmental Movement to discuss her research and work on view at GB11.

September 29, 2016

Mediation: Doug Ashford meeting with Gwangju Trauma Center

As a part of the Mediation program of GB11, Doug Ashford gathered with members from the Gwangju Trauma Center for a conversation around his installation, focused on the experience of the 5.18 victims' family.

September 15, 2016

"New Eelam" by Christopher Kulendran Thomas on view at ACC

All over the world, citizenship – the right to belong somewhere – is tied to specific nations. But what if technology could allow a more liquid citizenship beyond national borders? New Eelam, by Christopher Kulendran Thomas, is a long-term artwork in the form of a startup – a real-estate techn

September 14, 2016

Download Tommy Støckel's "The Gwangju Rocks" emoji board

The Gwangju Rocks are based on actual rocks found in the city of Gwangju – placed as “nature sculptures” in the city’s gardens and parks. The artist made 3D scans of a selection of six rocks, simplified and animated each to appear as a digital character with individual behaviour and distinct

September 14, 2016

Tyler Coburn's "Ergonomic Futures" short story website

Tyler Coburn's "Ergonomic Futures" 2016— comprises a series of ergonomic furniture, designed for imagined future humans, available for use in the exhibition area. Accompanying this furniture is a website of short stories, www.ergonomicfutures.com, which mimics the structure of Aristotle’s “gr

September 13, 2016

Mediation: Ann Lislegaard meet up with the Gwangju Science High School for gifted

On the sequence of her participation at GB11, artist Ann Lislegaard met up with the Gwangju Science High School for gifted to discuss science fiction in relation to the works on view at the exhibition halls.

September 6, 2016

Maria lind on Nazgol Ansarinia

Maria lind on Nazgol Ansarinia in Art Review Summer 2016

September 6, 2016

Forum "To All the Contributing Factors" on stream online

To All the Contributing Factors is a forum organized as part of the 11th Gwangju Biennale, titled The Eighth Climate (What Does Art Do?), discussing works by small- and medium-scale art organizations across the world with regards to questions of value, continuity, and scale, and imagining acts in co

September 6, 2016

Independent publishing meeting at Nokdu bookshop

Independent publishing meeting at Dora Garcia's installation "Nokdu bookshop for the living and the dead" moderated by Hana Park from McGuffin cafe. Sunday 4 September

September 6, 2016

Maria Lind on Flo Kasearu

Maria Lind on Flo Kasearu in Art Review March 2016

September 6, 2016

Maria Lind on Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz

Maria Lind on Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, in Art Review September 2015

September 6, 2016

Maria Lind in conversation with Marie Kølbæk Iversen

Maria Lind in conversation with Marie Kølbæk Iversen Kaleidoscope Magazine

September 6, 2016

Maria Lind in conversation with Trevor Paglen

Maria Lind in conversation with Trevor Paglen Kaleidoscope Magazine

September 3, 2016

United - a new film commission by Ahmet Öğüt for GB11

Ahmet Öğüt United, 2016, two channel HD animation, one channel of the two-channel animation shown in a pubic screen in Gwangju, the other channel of which is being simultaneously shown Alt Art Space and YAMA in Istanbul, 1’ each. trailer:

August 24, 2016

Event Program of 'Master Plan for Duamdong'

Apolonija Sustersic & Dari Bae invite us to the program of events they will develop at Nuribom Community Center! Please come and join the 1st event scheduled this Saturday 27th August! Program of events: [b] Sat 27 August 2016 16:00-18:00 Presentation of the Master Plan for Duamdong by

August 6, 2016

Annie Lai Kuen Wan at work - video by the Gwangju Biennale International Curator Course

ANNIE LAI KUEN WAN EVERYDAY A RAINBOW, 2016 The video follows Lai Kuen Wan during the production process of her artwork Everyday a Rainbow. We followed the artist within the surroundings of the Biennale Exhibition Hall, as she was shopping and searching for objects of everyday life, taking meas

August 4, 2016

Tommy Støckel in residency

Berlin-based artist Tommy Støckel is in residency in town building the installation The Gwangju Rocks, one of the new commissions of GB 11. This work comprises a series of rock characters inspired by the artificial nature and rock fixtures in the city of Gwangju. In Gwangju, as well as in many o

August 4, 2016

A walk around an imaginary lake - curated walk July

Hainuwele myth of Kyungyang dike was the title of the path drawn by Nam Soo Kim (Choreography critic from Seoul), on this edition of the curated walks at Monthly Gathering. Walking around the half moon shaped Kyungyang lake in central Gwangju, which disappeared many decades ago, a group of 25 atten

August 2, 2016

Mundus Imaginalis - Maria Lind on the cheeky and imaginal institutional critique of Walid Raad

in Art Review January 2016 "Have you ever heard of a world that exists between the natural and the spiritual worlds? One that mediates between sensory reality and the mystical realm of the divine? This intermediate world welcomes imaginative consciousness and allows cognitive imagination to thriv

August 2, 2016

Dirty Fingers, Sticky Shoes - Maria Lind on Nadia Belerique

Maria Lind on the return of the artist’s hand in post-Internet art, from Art review October 2015 issue "There is a steep increase in traces of sticky fingers on contemporary art. Especially in the art that has been placed under the rather strange label of ‘post-Internet’. Those traces are

August 2, 2016

Networked Nations

In the second of her ‘Gwangju Series’, the biennale’s artistic director, Maria Lind, looks at an idea of homeland as a distributed network. In Art Review April 2016

July 12, 2016

Maria Lind in conversation with Joungmin Yi

Maria Lind in conversation with Joungmin Yi Kaleidoscope Magazine

June 29, 2016

Donate your books:

We are creating an art and theory book collection for Mite-Ugro project space, and ask our friends and colleagues to bring/send publications. The books will be collected and registered in an online database (Blog) at Mite-Ugro, with titles translated into Korean. After one year the collection wo

June 29, 2016

Maria Lind on Jeamin Cha's work in Art Review, May issue

"There is no lack of traumatic events, big and small, in the world.Both today and through history. Thirty-one people killed in the recent Brussels bombings and yesterday 60 casualties in a Lahore park, most of them women and children. Not to speak of the innumerable cases – most of them likely to

May 31, 2016

Program of events at Nokdu Bookshop for the Living and the Dead

Monday 29 August 15:00–17:30 Lectures by Dora García and Kim Sang-yoon on the Nokdu bookstore project and a conversation moderated by Professor Seo Ki Moon, as part of Infra-School at Chonnam University College of Art, 77 Yongbong-ro, Buk-gu, Gwangju Tuesday 30 August 14:00–18:00

April 30, 2016

Talk at Nuribom Community Center

Saturday 3 September 5pm at Nuribom Community Center parallel to Apolonija Sustersic and Dari Bae's program Elke Krasny is a curator, cultural theorist, and writer. She is professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria. Her theoretical and curatorial work is firmly rooted in socially eng

April 30, 2016

'Information Skies' premiere online

'Information Skies' a GB11 new commission by Metahaven will premiere online this Thursday 1September at 1pm Korean time at informationskies.com

April 30, 2016

'Lament of the Newt'

Fernando Garcia-Dory is presenting a performance at the Hansaebong Agriculture & Eco-Park, as his new commission to GB11. Performance hours: September 3rd 16:30–17:30 / 18:30–19:30 Sunday 4th 17:00–18:00 address: at Hansaebong Agriculture & Eco-Park, 932-1 Ilkok-dong, Buk-gu, Gwang

April 29, 2016

Curated Walk in May as part of the Monthly Gathering

Every month, as part of the Monthly Gathering, practitioners from various discipline such as sociology, history, urban studies curate different walking paths through the city and suburbs to experience and engage with other urgencies in Gwangju city. So far it has been transformative experience for t

March 14, 2016

Monthly Gathering - Curated walk September

Artist in Residency Bernd Krauss was leading this Month's edition of curated walk, in the Mudeung area.

March 6, 2016

Fernando Garcia-Dory's

The collective performance and agricultural ritual "Lament of the Newt" (2016) by Fernando Garcia-Dory was presented last weekend in Gwangju. In collaboration with DureNale from Hansaebong Dure, Hee-Sang Noh, Mi-ja Park, Eun-Sil Jeong, You-kyeung Cho, Seon-nim Kim, and Young-dae Kim, and co-ordinate

March 6, 2016

May Mothers and Bik Van der Pol

Every Monday and Wednesday from 11:00-12:00 and 13:30-14:30 the May Mothers gather for exercise and leisure activities at Bik Van der Pol’s installation "How Does a Straight Line Feel?" (new commission 2016) at the Biennale exhibition hall (Gallery 3).

March 6, 2016

Monthly Gathering - September

The next Monthly Gathering starts this week. Program: Thursday 8 September 16:00 – 17:00 The Art Work in Focus group discussion of Medium Earth by The Otolith Group. At Biennale Exhibition Hall (Gallery 2) Friday 9 September 16:00 – 17:00 The Art Work in Focus group discussion of


In Focus: The off-site artist commissions of GB11 - by Jérôme Malpel (CuratorLab)

The Eight Climate (What does art do?) biennale takes place in the South Korean city of Gwangju. The city became an important and powerful location in the struggle for democracy in the country, where peaceful demonstrations were suppressed by military forces, their political uprising leading to a violent massacre of civilians. The biennale was founded in memory of the spirit of the 1980 Gwangju Democratization Movement.

Since then, the biennale has taken place in the Biennale arena, which is a big exhibition space formed by two buildings, with four huge and flexible galleries. These buildings are structurally similar to exposition centres throughout the world, which can be found in most major cities. This generic layout allows for the flexibility to host numerous kinds of corporative or commercial events, not specifically designed for art exhibitions. With this article I would like to explore instead the offsite project spaces, which provided unique situations for artistic commissions outside of this main exhibition space.

Activate urban spaces
Throughout the years, the Gwangju Biennale has worked with different regional and local institutions. The Mudeung Museum of Contemporary art, Uijae Museum, Gwangju Museum of Art, and the Ninegallery were each involved in this biennale, presenting commissioned works off-site from the main exhibition. Since 2011 a new project called Gwangju Folly started under the direction of Seung Hyo-sang and Ai Weiwei. The long term aim of the project is to connect several spots in the city creating a coherent constellation of spaces, by using the morphology of the city as a new autonomous exhibition material.

We had the chance to discuss with German architect and curator Nikolaus Hirsch about the Roundabout Revolution folly built in 2013 by Eyal Weizman, from Israel. This talk was mainly focused on the importance of the autonomous format of such a structure. Weizman's project took place in the traffic circle where people gathered in 1980 during the civil strife. This urban space has since been renovated with a new train station, erasing the morphology of the past. In order to leave a memory in that space and question the circle’s usage, the architect built a little round pavilion, where people can sit around a table and look and contemplate the history of that space. Surrounding the pavilion, where cars are passing over the location of the former roundabout, the architect painted on the street surface the former shape of the traffic circle. This drawing depicts, in concentric rings, different iconic public squares, such as that of the Arab spring, Tahrir Square in Cairo and Jaleh square in Tehran. Juxtaposing these different points of organized resistance, the architect creates a subtle reflexion on monument making.

Whereas in Arab countries the public square has transformed from being a strong symbol of revolution to the site of oppression, in contrast, in Gwangju, these squares have either been deleted or nearly eliminated through remodeling and renovation for new urban development. Instead of building an actual monument in memory of this protest, here we see a form, which embodies a sort of “soft monument”. The aim for the follies in Gwangju seem to be focused on creating places of culture and education rather than building monuments in a traditional sense. This investigation of the public space is interesting because it is a way to rebuild the story of the uprising in South Korea, by offering a space to document history and also to generate conversations between people.

Rice field
Recently, the last urban rice field still in use in the city had been labelled as Hansaebong Agriculture & Eco-Park. This is where Spanish artist Fernando García-Dory was commissioned to do an onsite project, entitled Lament of the Newt. Here, García-Dory engages in a strong and powerful discourse about growing cities and community traditions. Indeed, this little lot is the last local cultivated rice patty, engulfed by surrounding high rise towers and urban development.

As a small audience gathered for the performance, we were welcomed at the entrance of the rice field by the local community with some tea they also cultivate there. A few minutes later, an actor started to narrate the lament of the rice field, in the manner of a fable. The audience was invited to follow the actors, all along the cultivation lot, and one by one the actors spoke and sang about the life of the field, the traditions that structured and regulated the cycle of cultures throughout the seasons and the year, and the major problem they are facing with urban development. In order to protect the land from construction and building speculation, the people working there, together with the artist, told in a modern theatrical manner, the gravity of the situation.

By placing the audience in the actual context of the field, García-Dory dives straight into the conflict that this community faces. This off-site commission allowed him to show urban and political issues in their real aspect. This little rice field, facing those massive condominiums, is a clear visual symbol of the threat of urbanization that this community is grappling with.

Cyanotype in the mountain

The Uijae Museum of Art is located in Mudeungsan National Park, outside of the city. It sits along a long straight road, mostly used by hikers on their path to the top of the mountain and by visitors of the Jeungsimsa Buddhist temple, where monks are praying and living up in the forest far from the city. The museum's collection has been created in homage to the famous Korean painter Heo Baekryeon, mainly consisting of traditional prints. While walking around the temporary biennale exhibition that the museum was graciously hosting, waiting for the artist’s public talk to begin, I was pleasantly surprised by the harmony emerging from the space and its surrounding.

Swedish artist Gunilla Klingberg had made an art piece here in the museum composed by two main elements: a bamboo curtain structure, fixed from the ceiling down to the gallery, and on the wall a collection of prints made with the cyanotype method.

I had a little talk with the artist before she made the presentation about her commission in the museum, and she was explaining her process. Her main concern was to work with a slow process, engaging conversation and exchange with handcraft and local people. She visited the exhibition site four times during her research and production phase, and stayed there on the mountain. She worked a with fortune teller, and the concepts of Feng Shui in order to produce a piece for the museum. The blue prints presented in the exhibition space indicates the actual moments of the meeting with the fortune teller with Korean characters and numbers.

The chemical process of making the prints is really fragile and ephemeral. The images are slowly revealed by the light of the sun. In the middle of the space, the bamboo curtains connect to directly to the fortune parlours, as they are typically hung in the entranceways. Klingberg’s used this material to make a floating sculpture in the museum space. This working process was marked by failures and successes, that became a part of the construction of the final object, as an inherent part of its constitution, a form of knowledge built by making. Klingberg’s proposition engages the audience in a dialogue with the nature and the landscape in which the museum is situated, but also with traditional techniques. The artworks seem to have been here forever.

Site-specific commissions bring a different relation between the audience and the artworks. The several follies in the city tend to create a structure, encouraging a movement from one place to another, while questioning the visitor about the habits and use of urban spaces. On the edge of the city, the local community working with García-Dory reminds us and draws our attention to the responsibility that we all share, warning the audience and the powers that be, about preserving historical sites and environmental issues of over expansion. Klingberg creates a straight connection between tradition and our contemporary world, creating a bridge. Her pieces creates a concrete situation, bringing to the forefront an opportunity for the audience to get to know a little bit better the local culture, habits and ways of image-making. I found each of these specific artistic commissions particularly interesting within the framework of such a large scale, institutional exhibition format as an Art Biennale is, the one in Gwangju being the biggest in Asia.

I found this sentiment reflected in The Korea Times recent article about the 11th Gwangju Biennale 2016, which stated that this edition is “not spectacular but thoughtful”. It begs the question: Do we need it to be spectacular? This inquiry goes straight to the core of the curatorial idea, questioning the role of art, in a tangible reality.