Associate Curator, 10th Gwangju Biennale, 2014

Gwangju Biennale Foundation announce theme for the 10th Gwangju Biennale

Gwangju Biennale Foundation has announced the theme for the 10th Gwangju Biennale, taking place from 5 September – 9 November 2014.Burning Down the House explores the process of

burning and transformation, a cycle of obliteration andrenewal witnessed throughout history. Evident in aesthetics, historical events, and an increasingly rapid course of redundancy 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 fashion

able 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.

President of Gwangju Biennale Foundation Yongwoo Lee and Artistic Director of the 2014 Gwangju Biennale are pleased to announce the list of participating artists. The 10th Gwangju Biennale will bring together 105 artists from 36 countries and will include 35 new commissions, each selected for their relevance to the theme of the Biennale, Burning Down the House.

Speaking of the selected artists, Artistic Director Jessica Morgan stated: The artists in the Biennale have embraced the radical spirit of ‘burning down’ the status quo while also celebrating the hedonism of sound and movement evoked by the title. Drawing on their free and open approach, I have worked with the Biennale team to make an exhibition that physically embodies this commotion. Burning Down the House shows that the strength of artistic innovation, invocation and opposition is alive and well.”

Demonstrating the dynamic, political and material production of the artists, the Biennale exhibition will be a carefully choreographed but at times explosive exploration of sound, movement, image and form. Throughout the entire Biennale space the graphic contribution of the Spanish-born, London-based design duo El Ultimo Grito presents a ‘smoke’-motif that draws together the exhibition architecture, designed by Delvendahl Martin.

Engaging with the unfinished history of the Korean War, Minouk Lim produces a new performance, video and sculptural work that assumes a significant presence both in the Biennale square and within the Halls of the exhibition. Also occupying the Biennale square and announcing the exhibition to the arriving public is a major new commission by Jeremy Deller, alongside the specially produced burning stoves of Sterling Ruby.

Located primarily in the Biennale Halls, the exhibition treats each of the five large-scale spaces as connected but independently atmospheric zones, their entrances and exits defined by new commissions and existing works by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Jack Goldstein, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Jeong A Koo, and Piotr Uklański that draw attention to the transitional experience of entering into the Biennale through actions, performances and art works that animate and incite.

Running throughout the time of the exhibition, both inside the exhibition halls and within specially customised spaces, are new theatrical, dance, and performative commissions by the Japanese/Korean collaborators Ei Arakawa and Inza Lim, the Paris-based, French-Argentinean dance duo Cecilia Bengolea and François Chaignaud, London-based Korean artist Young in Hong, Korean dancer and choreographer Geumhyung Jeong, and the agit-prop Seoul-based Okin Collective.

South African artist Jane Alexander creates a new large-scale installation, bringing together her concerns of state control and individual freedoms. The work is exhibited in close proximity to a relatively unknown installation by Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, The Ozymandias Parade (1985), which similarly questions figures of military and state authority.

Animating the experience of the ‘house,’ Urs Fischer is making a new large-scale installation featuring his quintessential hyper-realistic wallpaper, which houses new commissions by artists Heman Chong, George Condo, Apostolos Georgiou, Prem Sahib, and Stewart Uoo, as well as works by the fashion designer Carol Christian Poell and Japanese photographer Tomoko Yoneda.

The manner in which material is changed or destroyed by flames, manifested as residue of vivid interventions or the remnants of celebrations, is evident in the work of Eduardo Basulado, HumaMulji, Liu Chuang, Cornelia Parker, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Anwar Shemza, MirceaSuciu and Sehee Sarah Bark.

Lebanese filmmaker Akram Zaatari and Brazilian artist Renata Lucas correspondingly look into the dynamics of new architecture in new works that interrogate the authorless building developments of the contemporary urban environment. New commissions by Roman Ondák and Naufus Ramírez Figueroa similarly engage with the idea of the home or enclosure through sculptural and interactive environments, while the Chinese artist Geng Jianyi and the Korean sculptor Wan Lee engage with the rapidly changing consumer society of Asia.

Liu Xiaodong visits Gwangju in the summer before the Biennale to paint the new generation born after the massacre of the 1980 uprising, and Polish satirical artist Cezary Bodzianowski is also in residence in Gwangju prior to the opening. These and other new commissions provide a contemporary perspective for the works of seminal figures such as Lee Bul, Young Soo Kim and Neungkyung Sung, whose performance and photographic practices from the 1980s explored the consequences of the democracy movement.

Extending into Jungoui Park, AA Bronson occupies a pagoda style house, his contribution involving the participation of collaborative artists from Korea and elsewhere. Bronson’s reflection on sexuality and radical subjectivity calls to mind the new works by American artist Sharon Hayes and Korean painter Woon Hyoung Choi as well as the participation of Andrea Bowers, Renate Bertlmann, Gulsun Karamustafa, Carlos Motta, Birgit Jürgenssen, Ulrike Ottinger, Suknam Yun, Nil Yalter, and Güneş Terkol, whose work similarly takes a profound position in relation to questions of gender through paintings, drawings, photography, video and installation.

While more than 90 percent of the artists are new to the Biennale, the exhibition also brings together key figures from contemporary Korea as well as selected artists who have featured prominently in its past, in order to draw upon the historic and existing artistic milieu. Through a variety of media the works in Burning Down the House thus dismantle the title of the exhibition to address historical and contemporary concerns of particular relevance for the occasion of the Biennale’s 20th anniversary.

The full list of artists is as follows:

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 / Roberto Cabrera / Vlassis Caniaris / Banu Cennetoğlu / Liu Chuang / Woon Hyoung Choi / Xooang Choi / Heman Chong / George Condo / Jeremy Deller / Tang Dixin / Heri Dono / Nicole Eisenman / 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 / 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


Press Contacts

Jisu Cook
International Relations and Communications Manager
Gwangju Biennale Foundation / +82 (0) 62 608 4223

Sam Talbot
International Press Contact
Sutton PR / +44 20 7183 3577

Notes to Editors

Gwangju Biennale
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 Jungoui 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.