As a result of the global struggle with COVID-19, Sunjung Kim, President of the Gwangju Biennale Foundation, has today announced that the 13th Gwangju Biennale, originally scheduled to take place from September 4 to November 29, 2020, has been postponed and will now be held from February 26 to May 9, 2021.
With the postponement of the Biennale, a decision taken in close consultation with Artistic Directors Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala, the Foundation joins the global community in its efforts to overcome and recover from the COVID-19 outbreak. The decision prioritizes the safety of the artists and other participants, while also addressing concerns regarding the production of new site-specific commissions particular to the Gwangju Biennale, as well as issues surrounding the transportation of artworks and international travel.
President Kim said: “Having adjusted the schedule from September 2020 to February next year, we will work to address the various challenges and variables that will arise in the production of this international art event that involves artists from around the world. In the midst of this global pandemic, the Gwangju Biennale is hoping for the prompt recovery and healing of the global society and the art world on a humanitarian level.“
Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala said: „The pandemic has been such a test on our values, protocols, practices, and institutions globally. As contagion and vulnerability become entwined conditions, with massive numbers of lives lost globally, it has become even more vital to sustain public culture amidst drastic pulls between isolation and mass movements as well as human and planetary asymmetries. Despite the optimism brought by the response to the pandemic in South Korea, the decision to postpone the 13th Gwangju Biennale to February 2021 had to be taken.”
Regarding their preparations with the next edition, titled Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning, the artistic directors added: “While we as curators understand and acknowledge the precarious and problematic nature of biennales all over the world, we remain convinced that one must still strive to create an inclusive space that aims to harness ancient world-building systems with newly engendered spirits. Our commitment remains with artistic practices that enable mutating, itinerant, hybrid and, at times, undisciplined alliances. As such, we are working with artists and thinkers with mind-expanding practices that act beyond the binary framings of insider and outsider, legal and illegal, masculine and feminine. Each invested in traversing ancestral knowledge, augmented intelligence, and healing systems while honoring the foundational role of the undead in shaping registers of “the real” across worlds of the living. We are grateful to each of them.”