The Busan Biennale is a biannual international contemporary art show that integrated three different art events held in the city in 1998: the Busan Youth Biennale, the first biennale of Korea that was voluntarily organized by local artists in 1981; the Sea Art Festival, an environmental art festival launched in 1987 with the sea serving as a backdrop; and the Busan International Outdoor Sculpture Symposium that was first held in 1991. The biennale was previously called the Pusan International Contemporary Art Festival (PICAF) before it launched.
The biennale has its own unique attribute in that it was formed not out of any political logic or need but rather the pure force of local Busan artists’ will and their voluntary participation. Even to this day their interest in Busan's culture and its experimental nature has been the key foundation for shaping the biennale’s identity.
This biennale is the only one like it in the world that was established through an integration of three types of art events such as a Contemporary Art Exhibition, Sculpture Symposium, and Sea Art Festival. The Sculpture Symposium in particular was deemed to be a successful public art event, the results of which were installed throughout the city and dedicated to revitalizing cultural communication with citizens.The networks formed through the event have assumed a crucial role in introducing and expanding domestic art overseas and leading the development of local culture for globalized cultural communication. Founded 38 years ago, the biennale aims to popularize contemporary art and achieve art in everyday life by providing a platform for interchanging experimental contemporary art.
Busan Biennale 2014
Inhabiting the World
INHABITING THE WORLD
Art = Ethical and aesthetic efficiency to inhabit the world
Facing a world in full transformation, a world in a permanent state of economic, ecological, geo-political and existential crisis, for the past 20 years numerous practitioners and theorists of different disciplines have formulated analyses and hypotheses to understand the current situation. Those who are heard are usually sociologists, technicians, entrepreneurs and economists, but are rarely artists. They are not as often questioned by the media and Think Tanks at work on the planet.
Indeed, artists do not give us direct answers; they do not have recipes but instead offer ‘visions of the world,’ which put into play notions that are deeper and more difficult to define. While they are less useful in the immediate, I believe they offer answers that are more sustainable and effective for the future. These answers may involve the individual, in his philosophical solitude, nature with its resources to preserve, or a social situation across various human communities. They create poetic or abstract thoughts that have an effect. They maintain dialogues with sciences, in neurobiology or astronomy, for instance.
Inhabiting the world is an active attitude, a sign of vitality, the will to act upon the world and change it, and this energy, this fluidity, characterizes the city of Busan.
As I am writing these words I am thinking of the world in general, the globalized world but also more precise scenes, for example the city and region of Busan, with its sea ? immutable ? but also with its 21st Century globalized city, in full expansion; in which elements of Korean traditions cross the most contemporary technical innovations. This situation takes place in numerous instances. On the Mediterranean Sea, for example in Marseille, or Nice, cities that are both close to the Fondation Maeght.
In a world, in disequilibrium, searching for its development and what will constitute the next step, artistic creation no longer has a prevailing aesthetic. It is conversely very alive and animated by multiple propositions. It is important to bear in mind that art is not solely a rhetorical trope, an argumentative discourse, but a bet that responds to questions of our era as well as to situations beyond time. Art reminds us that the ambition of all work is to offer unique thoughts and forms to the world, that will remain through time and in minds tokens of our civilizations; that “through wars, social and scientific upheavals”(Aime Maeght) it will leave, I hope, the purest spiritual and artistic messages possible. For the Busan Biennale the intent is to present artworks that have this ambition, and thus become presences, witnesses that the Biennale will make perceptible for generations to come. The challenge is to show that in our materialist society, which has trouble finding its harmony and coherence, the mind remains present and effective for each and every one of us thanks to art and artists. Visual arts will thus confront architecture, as well as questions of identity: human or animal, ecology, objects, industry, science and the question of relations between universes…
The exhibition will present, most certainly young artists, while zooming into significant works, practices that are already recognized in these territories of concern. The question of art is not a question of generations but of pertinence and invention.
The intention is to enhance the understanding that artists’ responses to current situations can take all forms and thus carry the richness of art: from the most abstract painting, to more oneiric videos alongside the most surprising digital artworks as well as the most realist installations. The world is made of numbers, of superpositions, of slippages and shifts from one point to another. Art today is made of this plurality and of the combination of these worlds, which make it an extraordinary constellation to explore.