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Long-anticipated Gwangju Biennale unfolds for 39 days

Installation view of the 13th Gwangju Biennale at the Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall (Yonhap)
Installation view of the 13th Gwangju Biennale at the Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall (Yonhap)

GWANGJU -- The 13th Gwangju Biennale was unveiled to the public Thursday with the theme of “Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning” in the city of Gwangju, following two delays since last year due to the sudden outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The long-anticipated art biennale showcases a broad range of 450 works of art from 69 artists and collectives across 40 countries, including more than 40 commissioned works created for the biennale.

“Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning” focus on the extended mind and explores many forms of intelligence, including machine intelligence, spiritual power and indigenous culture, seeking for how the current world can better cope with the future horizons of cognitive capitalism, algorithmic violence and planetary imperialism. 

The opening ceremony takes place Wednesday in front of the Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall. (Yonhap)
The opening ceremony takes place Wednesday in front of the Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall. (Yonhap)


“‘Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning’ sets out to challenge the structural divisions imposed on corporeal, technological and spiritual intelligence and seeks to bring forth dynamic aspects of the communal mind and its artistic and restorative potential in current struggles toward social justice,” artistic directors Natasha Ginwala and Defne Ayas wrote on the biennale.

The main exhibitions take place at four venues across the city: Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall, Gwangju National Museum, Gwangju Theater and Horanggasy Artpolygon. Asia’s large-scale art biennale runs for 39 days, through May 9, expanding to an online platform to take advantage of the pandemic times.

Along with the main exhibition, the biennale features special shows – GB Commission, The Pavilion Project and May 18 Democratization Movement Special Exhibition MaytoDay -- in efforts to foster collaborative exhibitions with the international art institutes and artists as well as introducing local artists during the biennale.

The May 19 Democratization Movement Special Exhibition MaytoDay aims to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the May 18 Democracy Movement that took place in 1980 against the military regime, resulting in more than 200 deaths.

While online reservations are required to Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall, Gwangju National Museum, venues for Pavilion Project and GB Commission, on-site entry will be available as well, allowing up to 300 visitors per hour to enter.

The Gwangju Biennale was established in 1995, becoming the first large-scale international art biennale in Asia. The sixth largest city in Korea is about 330 kilometers south of Seoul.

By Park Yuna (yunapark@heraldcorp.com)  
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