In Pictures: Busan Biennale

Kwon Yongju, Waterfall, 2020, Tarpaulin, covering, styrofoam, rubber bar, automatic bar, scaffolding, water pump, wood and others, 976 ×732 × 418 cm

The Busan Biennale 2020, titled Words at an Exhibition: an exhibition in ten chapters and five poems, opened this week (currently held online in accordance with local social distancing guidelines).

Peter Wächter, Untitled, 2017, ceramic, 37 × 35 × 35 cm (foreground); Rehearsal, 2020, watercolour, crayon, ink on paper, 137 × 140 cm (behind). Courtesy Galerie Lars Friedrich, Berlin
Lee Yona, En route home, 2020, stainless steel, objects, variable dimensions. Courtesy Busan Biennale

Directed by the Danish curator Jacob Fabricius (currently artistic director for Kunsthal Aarhus in his native land), who was appointed in July of last year, the exhibition takes as its generating concept the interpretation of works of art and their translation into another artform.

Peter Wächter, Double decker, 2020, plaster, wood, synthetics, art stone, electronics, ink, 107 x 150 x 45 cm. Courtesy Galerie Lars Friedrich
Kim Heecheon, Deep in the Forking Tanks, 2019, single channel video, colour, sound, 42 min

Eight Korean and three fiction writers from Denmark, Columbia and USA, representing different generations, genres and ways of writing, were invited to visit Busan in late 2019 and then commissioned to write stories or poems ‘around or about’ the city.

Daiga Grantina, INN, 2020, felt, wood, silicone, ink, 270 × 180 × 70 cm
Such Yongsun, The Arrested Man, 2003, oil on canvas, 250 × 200 cm

The stories structure the exhibition’s ‘chapters’ and the poems provide ‘intermezzos’. Each of the 67 participating artists and 11 musicians (from around the world) was asked to create a work in response to one of the texts.

Josef Strau, I tried to make birds, 2020, sand, lampshade, paint on restored metal, A2 poster, variable dimensions. Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Cologne (foreground); Jeuno Je Kim & Ewa Einhorn, Kino Claw, 2013, installation, 600 × 450 × 400 cm. Courtesy Malmö Konstmuseum (behind)

Read ArtReview Asia’s interview with Fabricius on the experience of directing the biennial: ‘It has been very humbling to see and experience how the artists have worked around the pandemic’.

Monica Bonvicini, As Walls Keep Shifting, 2019, timber wood, screws, 868 × 828 × 870 cm Courtesy the artist
Mercedes Azpilicueta, Lady’s Dream or Stop Right There Gentlemen!, 2019, jacquard textile (wool and cotton), 157 × 600 cm. All images courtesy Busan Biennale unless otherwise stated

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