Ahead of its opening next April, the 2023 Gwangju Biennale has named the initial 58 artists (of an estimated 80 total) that are set to exhibit their work as part of the exhibition, which is organized by Tate Modern senior curator Sook-Kyung Lee under the title of “soft and weak like water.”
Among the artists slated to participate are some of the most closely watched ones working today, including Farah Al Qasimi, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Latifa Echakhch, Sky Hopinka, Christine Sun Kim, Minjung Kim, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Guadalupe Maravilla, Noé Martínez, Alan Michelson, Vivian Suter, and Alberta Whittle, as well as late artists like Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Lucia Nogueira, and Kim Lim.
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In selecting the artist list, Lee has also placed a focus on highlighting the work of Korean artists from different generations, like Chang Jia, Lee Seung-taek, and Oh Yoon, as well as international artists working with the history of Gwangju, like Soungui Kim, Aliza Nisenbaum, and the collective Pangrok Sulap, which will look at the lasting legacy of the May 18 Democratic Uprising in the city. Additional focuses include “artists who speak with lived experiences,” “artists rethinking traditions,” and “underrepresented women artists.”
As part of the announcement, the Biennale also revealed that the exhibition will explore four different sub-themes: “Luminous Halo positions the spirit of Gwangju as a source of inspiration and model for resistance and solidarity; Ancestral Voices highlights transnational artistic approaches for engaging and interpreting traditions to question and challenge modernist ideas; Transient Sovereignty considers the ways in which post-colonial and de-colonial artistic thinking have developed in relation to issues such as migration and diaspora; and Planetary Times explores the potentials and limits of a ‘planetary vision’ on ecological and environmental justice,” according to the release.
The current list of participating artists follows below.
Farah Al Qasimi
María Magdalena Campos-Pons
James T. Hong
Christine Sun Kim
Emily Kame Kngwarreye
Chila Kumari Singh Burman
Tanya Lukin Linklater
Mata Aho Collective
Oh Suk Kuhn
Oum Jeong Soon
Robert Zhao Renhui
David Zink Yi