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Busan Biennale to showcase mixture of literature, visual and audio art

(Busan Biennale Organizing Committee)
(Busan Biennale Organizing Committee)

Works of literature will merge with visual and recorded audio forms of art at this year's Busan Biennale, one of South Korea's largest art festivals, the organizers said Wednesday, with the biyearly event moving forward despite concerns of the spread of the new coronavirus.

Under this year's banner theme "Words at an Exhibition -- An Exhibition in Ten Chapters and Five Poems," the biennale will kick off on Sept. 5 and run until Nov. 8 at several art venues in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul, the Busan Biennale Organizing Committee said.

The event, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, will bring together 90 artists -- 11 writers, 68 visual artists and 11 audio recording artists -- from 34 nations, including the United States, Denmark, Columbia.

The three-month festival will be helmed by Danish curator Jacob Fabricius.

The biennale plans to feature experimental exhibitions in which writers publish various works themed around Busan, which are then paired with visual and recorded audio works expressing the literary works.

The organizing committee has published a book in which 11 international writers delve into the topic of Busan through poetry essays and even short stories.

Writer Kim Hye-soon has expressed Busan through various topics, such as the ocean view, swans and skies above the traditional fisheries market Jagalchi. Kim Geun-hee has written a short novel titled "On Christmas," a tale of a couple who meet and fall in love in Busan.

The biennale will offer exhibitions in which literary work is expressed through visual and recorded audio forms. The biennale will be divided into 11 chapters.

Together with the Seoul Mediacity Biennale and the Gwangju Biennale, the Busan Biennale is one of South Korea's premier art festivals.

While the Seoul and Gwangju events were nixed this year over concerns of COVID-19, the Busan Biennale organizers nonetheless decided to push forward with the opening.

"We plan to proceed with the biennale by following preventive measures against the pandemic," a representative at the organization committee said.

The Busan Biennale was first held in 1998 by combining three existing local events: the Pusan Biennale, the Pusan Sea Art Festival and the International Symposium of Open Air Sculptures in Pusan. Busan was formerly spelled as Pusan before the government changed its official romanization system. (Yonhap)