All notes written by Andy St. Louis | Notes on Looking

9th Gwangju Biennale – a preview

First held in 1995, the Gwangju Biennale has long been a champion of contemporary artists working across all mediums and practices worldwide. The biennale—Asia’s longest-running and most prestigious biennial exhibition of contemporary art—has solidified its reputation over the past decade, thanks in large part to the extraordinary lineup of accomplished curators that have guided its development over the years. This year, the 9th Gwangju Biennale is set to continue in its tradition of progressive and mindful stewardship with the appointment of six Co-Artistic Directors. Each a groundbreaking curator in her own right, these six women have joined forces in undertaking the exhibition’s direction as a single collective unit. In doing so, they propose an unorthodox challenge to the more conventional curatorial approaches that have prevailed in the biennale’s history. ‘History’ has always played a key role in defining conceptual frameworks for the Gwangju Biennale’s exhibitions. Looking ahead to September and the 9th Gwangju Biennale, the question that looms largest for most people has been: how will this year’s exhibition continue to reinvigorate and engage with issues in contemporary art in ways that are fresh and relevant today? Faced with such a challenge, the exhibition’s Co-Artistic Directors have thrown open the curatorial conversation, abdicating the authority to endorse any single ‘officially-approved’ position. ‘ROUNDTABLE,’ the theme of this year’s biennale, is presented as a platform for open-ended collaboration, with the principal objective of arriving at a more qualified assessment and comprehensive interpretation of notions of the individual and the collective—a dichotomy that brings itself to bear on artistic practice as well as society in general. By its very definition, the social institution of the...