November 15th, 2014

Gwangju Biennale

Lubaina Himid

Artists: Artist Group Dung-ji (Inn Sun Kim), Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Hamed Abdalla, Abbas Akhavan, Jane Alexander, Allora & Calzadilla, Jonathas de Andrade, Ei Arakawa & Inza Lim, Charles Atlas, Sehee Sarah Bark, Eduardo Basualdo, Cecilia Bengolea & François Chaignaud, Renate Bertlmann, Cezary Bodzianowski, Andrea Bowers, AA Bronson, Cornel Brudascu, Vlassis Caniaris, Banu Cennetoğlu, Liu Chuang, Woon Hyoung Choi, Xooang Choi, Heman Chong, George Condo, Jeremy Deller, Tang Dixin, Ólafur Elíasson, El Último Grito, Brenda Fajardo, Urs Fischer, Dan Flavin, Apostolos Georgiou, Jianyi Geng, Jack Goldstein, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Sheela Gowda, Anthea Hamilton & Nicholas Byrne, Sharon Hayes, Celia Hempton, Robert Heinecken, Camille Henrot, Lubaina Himid, Carsten Höller, Young In Hong, Xiangqian Hu, Pierre Huyghe, Jai Hyoung Hwang, Tetsuya Ishida, Geumhyung Jeong, Joakim, Birgit Jürgenssen, Gülsün Karamustafa, Gavin Kenyon, Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, Yamashita Kikuji, Bok Man Kim, Sung Hwan Kim, Young Soo Kim, Yves Klein, Jeong A Koo, Lee Bul, Seulgi Lee, Wan Lee, Minouk Lim, Xiaodong Liu, Renata Lucas, Anna Maria Maiolino, Tahmineh Monzavi, Carlos Motta, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Huma Mulji, Hidemi Nishida, Eko Nugroho, Okin Collective, Yoshua Okón, Roman Ondák, Gabriel Orozco, Ulrike Ottinger, Cornelia Parker, Anand Patwardhan, Otto Piene, Carol Christian Poell, Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, James Richards, Sterling Ruby, Prem Sahib, Anwar Shemza, Mircea Suciu, Shooshie Sulaiman, Neungkyung Sung, Rodel Tapaya, Güneş Terkol, Rosemarie Trockel, Piotr Uklański, Ken Unsworth, Stewart Uoo, Lionel Wendt, David Wojnarowicz, Nil Yalter, Sungchul Yang, Tomoko Yoneda, Suknam Yun, Akram Zaatari

Venue: Gwangju Biennale Hall and Gwangju Folk Museum, Gwangju

Exhibition Title: Burning Down the House

Curated by: Jessica Morgan

Date: September 5 – November 9, 2014

Click here to view slideshow

Ei Arakawa & Inza Lim

Huma Mulja

Minouk Lim

Full gallery of videos, images, press release and link available after the jump.


Yoshua Okón, excerpt from Octopus, 2011, 4-Channel Video Installation: 4 synchronized projections and Home Depot buckets with foam, 18 min 31 sec loop.


Seehee Sarah Bark, Vanishing Landscape, 2013, Video, 3 mins.



Images and videos courtesy of the artists and the Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju. Photos by Stefan Altenburger.

Press Release:

Burning Down the House explores the process of burning and transformation, a cycle of obliteration and renewal witnessed throughout history. Evident in aesthetics, historical events, and an increasingly rapid course of redundanc y and renewal in commercial culture, the Biennale reflects on this process of, often violent, events of destruction or self- destruction—burning the home one occupies—followed by the promise of the new and the hope for change.

In the 1930s the critic Walter Benjamin coined the term ‘Tigersprung’ (the tiger’s leap) for a new model of history where the past is activated in and through the present within a culture industry that demands constant renewal. What can the ‘Tigerspung’ mean for today’s ‘tiger economies’ like South Korea in a context where economic and political powers deliver the eternally new of fashionable commodities and industrial progress at the apparent expense of a cultural past?

Burning Down the House looks at the spiral of rejection and revitalization that this process implies. The theme highlights the capacity of art to critique the establishment through an exploration that includes the visual, sound, movement and dramatic performance. At the same time, it recognises the possibility and impossibility within art to deal directly and concretely with politics. The energy, the materiality and processes of burning – the manner in which material is changed and destroyed by flames into the residue of dramatic interventions or remnants of celebrations – have long informed artistic practice. The transformative powers of fire are central to the way in which this exhibition has been imagined.

Rather than a simple reference to a leftfield pop anthem from the early 1980s, the title reflects the double significance of the proposed Biennale-concept. By fusing physical movement with political engagement, it animates the concept for the decennial of the Gwangju Biennale. When the US-Band Talking Heads were debating the title and chorus of ’Burning Down the House’, their most recognised track, members of the band remembered being at a Funkadelic-concert where George Clinton and the audience swapped calls to ‘Burn Down the House’. This hedonism by the P -Funk crowd on the dance floor was then turned into an anthem of bourgeois anxieties by the New York-based band. This dual meaning of pleasure and engagement serves as the defining spirit of the 10th Gwangju Biennale.

Burning Down the House examines the potential of art as movement, by exploring the efforts made by contemporary artists to address personal and public issues through individual and collective engagement, as well as demonstrating how challenging these efforts and their impacts have become. Contrary to museums, with their often hegemonic cultural policies and interest in denoting legacies and traditions, the biennale is a mobile and flexible event, which offers a spectrum of creative expressions that are immediate, contemporary and topical, making the proposed debate of art as movement fitting for the space of Gwangju – both geopolitically and as an institutional alternative.

Burning Down the House, the 10th Gwangju Biennale, is curated by Jessica Morgan, Artistic Director of the Biennale and The Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, Tate Modern. Fatos Ustek and Emiliano Valdes are Associate Curators for the Biennale, Enna Bae is Associate Curator for Performance and Teresa Kittler is Assistant Curator.

The Gwangju Biennale, which was founded in September 1995 in the city of Gwangju in South Korea, is Asia’s first and most prestigious contemporary art biennale. Founded in memory of spirits of civil uprising of the 1980 repression of the Gwangju Democratization Movement, the Gwangju Biennale presents a global perspective on contemporary art. Under the helm of a progression of international curators – including Massimiliano Gioni, Kerry Brougher, Sukwon Chang, Okwui Enwezor, Charles Esche, Hou Hanru, Honghee Kim, Yongwoo Lee, Youngchul Lee, Kwangsoo Oh, Wankyoung Sung and Harald Szeemann – the Gwangju Biennale has established itself as a highlight of the international contemporary art biennale circuit. Centered in Gwangju’s 8,100 square meter Biennale Hall in Jungoe Park, the Gwangju Biennale’s presence has elevated the city of 1.4 million to become a cultural hub of East Asia. The Gwangju Biennale Foundation also hosts the Gwangju Design Biennale, which was founded in 2004. The Gwangju Biennale is co-hosted by the Gwangju Biennale Foundation and The Metropolitan City of Gwangju.

Link: Gwangju Biennale

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