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Discourse Production Frame and Biennale Culture

Yongwoo Lee
Standing Vice Director of Gwangju Biennale

I have always believed that we must diagnose and accept the existing art as the phenomenon or behavior of ?isual culture.?This is because today? visual art cannot be defined within the limited context of artistic discourse or as a mere cultural product. Also, I want to propose an approach and discourse of market-based cultural production and consumption from a public view.
I particularly proposed a collaborative frame of artistic culture, such as a biennale or a triennale, as a system for ?he balanced circulatory structure and the post-centralization recovery of spontaneity,?which was declared at the establishment of the Gwangju Biennale in 1995. The biennale culture of Korea has already accumulated 13 years of experience and is constantly expanding, quantitatively. I do not believe that it comes from the system of biennale or the structure of global production it conveys. However, I do believe that it comes from the fact that the biennale has a relatively open structure of discussion, compared to art museums or local authorities, to be able to overcome biologically unhealthy genes of visual art, such as the artistic production by lineage. In other words, biennales, with their intentional criticism or compliments, support the most revitalized discussion in the art sector.
Once they get tired of today's hybrid aesthetics or discourse, the people could think of art and culture as a game for superiority. Art history has always repeated the use of local styles and international styles and induced the discussion of humanistic values and philosophical values. Examining the exhibitions and public projects planned by the world's leading artistic organizations for 2009, I anticipate the emergence of a new ideology and international styles of art in the niches of the economic crisis and recess. I can sense this from the attitudes of biennale directors planning the Venice Biennale and other biennales in Istanbul and Lyon, from June through September of this year.
 The Gwangju Biennale Foundation will hold the 2009 Gwangju Design Biennale, in September. In 2010, it will start preparation for the 8th Biennale, including the appointment of a general director. The year 2010 is the 30th anniversary of the Gwangju Democratic Revolution. Since Gwangju Biennale is built on the foundation of Gwangju? spirit, there will be several preliminary events for solidarity and interaction with the people of Gwangju. In particular, the role and organization of ?rt Compass,?the collaborative body for the biennales in Asia which was first formed last year, should be carefully examined and determined.
 Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (Senior Curator of Torino Museum of Modern Art), who directed the Sydney Biennale last year, has recently been appointed to direct the 2012 Documenta Kassel and has announced her interest in the artistic styles after the Cold War and in changing visual art through the rendezvous of the East and the West. Also, Alexandra Munroe, the Senior Curator for Eastern Art at Guggenheim, exhibits the mutual influence of East and West as shown in American art at her upcoming exhibition (to open on January 28).     It is necessary for us to focus on the symptoms of these changes and contexts.

 
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