Monday, October 1, 2012

Garden of Learning / Busan Biennale 2012

Busan Biennale Is a comprehensive art festival that integrated three different festivals that had been in the
city : Busan Youth biennale, Busan sea festival, and Busan outdoor sculpture Symposium.
With a long history of serving as on art stronghold in Asia, Busan is a perfect place to host an art festival
for the region and beyond. The biennial art event was intrnded to presend to easy interpretation of the hard -to-understood contemporarny art and moke it more accessible to general public.

The fetival serves as an arena where locals con mingle with people from other countries and communicate with each other. Busan Biennale will be entrenched as reprsentative culture event Koreand, ultimately, achieve a worldwide recogniti on.

What is it about? Garden of Learning / Busan Biennale 2012 stems from a slow, largely improvised exhibition process involving around 80 people from Busan and wider Korea, a comparatively small number of artists and the Artistic Director. Collaborating closely in a body called Learning Council (LC), these people shared their doubts about the relevance of the Biennale-type exhibition, explored possibilities for reaching a wider community and learned about various artistic approaches to the realities that keep challenging us.

The main exhibition, also titled “Garden of Learning”, is being held at Busan Museum of Art. It is meant to look like a modest museum collection, and features around 41 participating artists. The decision to make a Biennale-type exhibition as a global museum collection was taken by the LC as away of reinforcing the dignity of public institutions in the face of both market forces and populist demands.

Garden of Learning is embedded in an educational program that is jointly conceived by the team. Mirroring the self-education processes that characterize LC meetings, this program tries to grasp and account for Busan’s many historical and contemporary layers. Questioning everyday matters, including topics such as cooking and schooling, the political is understood here as the normative way things are done.

The special exhibition is jointly organized by nine emerging curators under the title “Outside of Garden”. They seek to extend Garden of Learning beyond its museum premises by including spaces that resonate in Busan’s historical memory, including Busanjin Station, Busan Culture Center and Me World.

Biennale Urban Square is composed of smaller festivities and events where curators, artists, Learning Council members and general audiences meet in a causal way, enjoying the many niceties of Busan.
In addition, a Gallery Festival will be jointly celebrated by 19 art galleries in Busan.
         Space – 2012 Rhythomos
Jun’s free-hanging sculpture was specially conceived for the museum’s entrance hall. This artwork is as monumental as it is light and airy. With it, the artist set out to achieve two things: first, to introduce a ready-made material with a strong, sculptural texture into the exhibition, and second, to use a material that the people of Busan would not only easily recognize, but also embrace as belonging to the port city and its history of labor.

Jun chose to work with used fishing nets in all their variety, including differences in strength, density, and color. The sculpture emphatically shares its space with visitors. It can even be gently pulled, thus offering a sensual experience. This is especially true for young viewers, who are more and more inclined to perceive their environment as merely virtual.

In a huge, dark gallery, white antlers – a whole flock of them – emanate from a blackish liquid covering the entire floor. The artist calls his work a “monument”, but what it is meant to commemorate? The antlers are made of porcelain; they are both fragile and precious. Their image, mirrored in the blackish liquid, only adds to their immaterial, almost ghost-like appearance. This looks more like a landscape of doom, even a graveyard than a monument, and yet this piece holds the secret to an extraordinary beauty.

The apparitional look of the antlers forms an afterimage, rendered in three dimensions, of a species that has been extinct since the late 1930s: Schomburgk’s Deer. A swamp deer that once roamed the central plains of Thailand (the artist’s home country), its antler was characterized by a flat, bushy look.
Sakarin Krue-On was once greeted by such an animal at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. He somehow felt drawn to the grace the animal betrayed, even as a padded thing, and a connection between past and present was made (this is, after all, what museums are for). The artist then learned that, much like today’s desperate masses of people, the deer had to flee the often flooded plains of Thailand. The animal was forced to move uphill in search of food, leaving it vulnerably exposed to predators. Schomburgk’s Deer came to realize much too late that the creatures following him were not fellow deer, but humans – hunters wearing antlers for better range and rifle accuracy.
The flooded plains, the people, the deer – all of these are present and connected in the Monument. And yet, given the history of the animal’s extinction, do we have to attribute the porcelain antler to the deer, or could it be the human – the hunter in disguise? Indeed, what is being commemorated here might not be Schomburgk’s Deer, but a human intelligence that facilitates not only the destruction of the world’s riches, but also and ultimately itself.

Global trade and industry are a ubiquitous presence in our daily lives (just look at the origins of consumer goods on supermarket shelves). But they are also highly abstract entities, particularly in terms of scale and with an eye to their miraculous logistics. Ships are a key facilitator of global trade. Their cargo fuels Korea’s export economy, for example, and delivers the raw materials necessary to sustain the country’s ongoing modernization.

Aranberri’s installation conjures a museological image of Korea’s modern condition. While it is impossible to grasp the monumental scale – and therefore actual impact – of the shipbuilding operation (statistical information and documentary projects have their clear limits, for better or worse), Perpetual Continent feeds the imagination with a display of hollow moulds. These forms are abstractions of abstractions. They are supplied by a shipbuilding company in Ulsan that builds ship models, or prototypes and replicas of actual ships for use in contract negotiations between the shipbuilding company and its client. But these ship models are no mere supplement. Their excessive shine and minute detailing puts them close to a fetish.

The hollow moulds, on the other hand, are difficult to idealize. The object that matters is gone, or so it seems; what they exhibit is mainly negative space. Still, this negative space points to more than just nothing or absence. Negative space is a key trope of early 20th century avant-garde art (in Malevich, for example). On the one hand, this trope encapsulates a gesture of radical nullification or tabula rasa: the negation of all traditions and established norms. On the other, it evokes a utopian promise: out of the negation of the old world, a new and better world will come.

Modernity’s utopian promise is becoming harder and harder to believe in. State socialist experiments failed horribly, and rampant capitalism causes ecological disaster. Could this be why Aranberri’s piece looks like a necropolis? Ibon Aranberri Perpetual Continent

   The Gallery Festival will be held during the Busan Biennale 2012 and is intended to amplify the mood of the Biennale and vitalize the art market.
Period: Sep. 22 – Nov. 22, 2012 at Busan Museum of Art Venue: Galleries throughout Busan (19 galleries in 6 districts) Artwork: 409 works of art from 64 artists

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