Yishu - Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art

Yishu Journal – the May/June 2013 Issue Now Available

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Editor’s Note:

Yishu 56 is a special issue devoted to an edited selection of lectures and case studies that were presented at the World Biennial Forum No 1 Shifting Gravity from October 27 to 31, 2012, in Gwangju, South Korea. This event brought together numerous distinguished individuals who have been involved in the histories of biennials as these exhibitions have evolved over the past few decades, as well as more recent participants in this global phenomenon. The focus of this Forum was on biennials and triennials in Asia and the fact that the rapid economic, social, and cultural development that increasingly characterizes Asian nations in the twenty-first century is resulting in a shift of attention to this part of the world.

Various themes and issues were addressed at the World Biennial Forum. On a broader level, keynote speakers explored issues of social and cultural equality, ideas about what constitutes cosmopolitanism—something many biennials aspire to—and questions of what a biennial represents culturally and how it can better serve its constituents.

Through a series of case studies representing the Asia-Pacific region, architecture and design, emergent and alternative biennials, biennials in South Korea, and “Asia” and its margins, many shared concerns arose: In what ways can biennials affect, or even nuture, local art production? What is the influence of state, corporate, or institutional support on curatorial integrity? How can one produce something meaningful with only a limited budget? The selection of presentations in Yishu represents not only some of the more established biennials in Asia, but also newer models that may be overlooked due to an emphasis on the local or access to only a modest means of production, even though the objective is also to reach out and include an international community.

Yishu would like to thank the writers and presenters for their contributions to an important and timely discourse, the World Biennial Forum No 1 co-directors Hou Hanru and Ute Meta Bauer for inviting Yishu to participate in this important event, Olga Hatzidaki of the Biennial Foundation, and Sohl Lee of the Gwangju Biennale Foundation, as well as all the others who have assisted with this publication. In May 2013, the Biennial Foundation, initiator of Shifting Gravity, is releasing a book co-published by Hatje Cantz and the Gwangju Biennale Foundation that will serve as a lasting document of the Forum.

Keith Wallace

image (top): Maro Avrabou and Dimitri Xenakis, Kitchen Garden, 2012, site-specific installation. Courtesy of the artists and Land Art Mongolia.

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