Gwangju Biennale Foundation has appointed Park Yang-woo as its next president. Park served as the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism from April 2019 to February 2021. He previously led the Foundation’s board from 2015 to 2017, making this his second time taking up the position.
Park will be filling former President Kim Sun-jung’s position. Kim Sun-jung faced allegations of mismanagement during the 13th biennial, which was originally scheduled for 2020 but was postponed to April 2021 due to COVID-19.
The Biennale’s labor union submitted a petition to the national agency regarding Kim’s flout of labor laws, privatization of the foundation, and unfair dismissal of staff members who voiced their concerns. Kim stepped down after her term expired this June.
With the new leadership, the 14th edition is expected to be held next year. But the timetable turned out to be very tight due to the pandemic and the foundation’s internal problems, leaving only one year for Park to prepare for this international event.
Park stated that he intends to gather several experts to develop an appropriate schedule and look for a proficient artistic director. “We will reinforce the necessary personnel and reorganize the organizational system while closely grasping the current situation of the Gwangju Biennale,” Park said.
Biennale (or Biennial) is a large-scale international art event which mostly reflects on the characteristics and timeliness of the host area. Gwangju Biennale was established in September 1995, inheriting and commemorating the spirit of citizens who rose against the military dictatorship in May 1980 during the Gwangju Democratization Movement.
Gwangju Biennale, one of Asia’s oldest biennials, is in the foreground of the international contemporary art scene for reflecting the value of human civilization through Korea’s political and historical heritage.