As interest in contemporary art increases rapidly in South Korea, museums, art fairs, and biennials in cities other than Seoul are also attracting large crowds. Earlier this year, for example, it was reported that the Ulsan Museum of Art and the Tongyeong International Triennale welcomed the most visitors.
Even more art enthusiasts are anticipated to visit the provinces in the second half of this year. The Busan Biennale, one of Korea’s largest biennials, and the Daejeon Art and Science Biennale, which combine the themes of technology, nature, and humans, are in the final stages of preparing to open their respective events.
Busan Biennale (부산비엔날레) – We, on the Rising Wave (물결 위 우리)
From September 3 to November 6, 2022, the Busan Biennale will be held under the title We, on the Rising Wave. The biennial will investigate the hidden stories embedded in Busan’s past and link them to the global community.
Featuring the work of sixty-four artists and teams (a total of eighty artists) from twenty-six countries, the exhibition will be held at four locations containing the modern and contemporary history of Busan: the Museum of Contemporary Art Busan; Pier 1 of Busan Port; a former shipbuilding factory in Yeongdo; and a house in Choryang.
The word “wave” in the title could refer to the wave of people who had to flow into or leave Busan; the turbulent waves of the city’s modern history; the spreading waves of information in the age of technology; or the waves surrounding the rolling hills of the Busan coastline.
As Busan underwent modernization, national liberation, war, and industrialization, the city expanded rapidly to become one of the largest port cities in Korea. However, the recent changes in the industrial structure and environment have pushed the city to change, as its population has decreased and its industries have deteriorated. This is the story of not only Busan but also numerous other regions around the world.
We, on the Rising Wave, examine the intertwined collective memories and history of Busan and reflects on the city’s rapidly changing environment to predict its future and understand its relationship with the rest of the world. Furthermore, the exhibition seeks to address the issues of “migration,” “labor and women,” “the ecosystem of the city,” and “technological change and placeness” as keywords.
Haeju Kim, the artistic director of Busan Biennale 2022 and a native of Busan, stated, “The exhibition will put forward a viewpoint that narrates the stories of backstreets in Busan and how they are intersected and connected to those of other major cities, in an attempt to explore ways of adapting to the ever-changing world as we ride the waves ahead of us.”
The biennial will feature artists of various generations spanning the 1930s to the 1990s from Asia, Europe, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Oceania. The presented artworks will include paintings, videos, video installations, sculptures, performances, and photography.
Daejeon Art and Science Biennale (대전과학예술비엔날레) – Future of Cities (미래도시)
The Daejeon Art and Science Biennale, organized by the Daejeon Museum of Art (DMA), will be held from August 2 to October 30, 2022, with the theme Future of Cities.
This year, the biennale will feature twenty-two artists and teams (twenty-three artists in total) from eleven countries. Unlike other biennials, the Daejeon Art and Science Biennale is organized by the museum and does not invite an outside artistic director. Five places will host the exhibition: the Daejeon Museum of Art, the Creative Center of DMA, the TJB building, the Daejeon Ilbo building, and Space From The Corner.
The main exhibition of the biennale will take place at the museum, and in the remaining four locations, the works of four artists and teams selected through the Call for Artists program will examine the themes of networks, culture, history, and the environment from a new perspective.
Future of Cities will provide an open space where visitors can imagine a world where all living things on the planet that depend on each other have equal rights and create a world together. The main exhibition will consist of three sections. The first section will offer visitors a chance to contemplate how humans and non-humans can coexist. In the second section, visitors can imagine a future city based on the present, and in the last section, visitors are invited to envision a new type of city where reality and virtuality overlap.
The exhibition examines various problems, such as environmental crises, pandemics, and issues of technological development, and seeks to find alternative scenarios. It also explores the possibilities of the future through the work of the artists.
Twenty-three participating artists from Finland, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Japan, and Korea work in a variety of mediums, including installation, media, painting, and sculpture.