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Busan Biennale 2018

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Busan Biennale

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.


2018 Guest Star

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관리자 2018-08-21 10:59

작가IM Youngzoo

Guest Star, 2 channel video, 12min 30sec, 2018, Courtesy of the artist, Commissioned by Busan Biennale 2018


IM Youngzoo
Guest Star




The artist’s new work Guest Star (2018) showcased for the first time at this year’s Biennale overlaps these two disparate elements. One is the cosmic phenomenon of supernova, which appears to be the birth of a new star in front of our eyes but actually refers to the explosion caused by death of a star; and the other is the perception of misunderstanding or over-interpretation that takes place in multilateral relationships. This work repeatedly visualizes wavelengths of a supernova that expand and contract, and features speech and body movements that are hard to understand the exact meaning of. An interesting phrase in the video installation is “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”, which may be familiar to people from English-speaking cultures but unfamiliar to the rest. This sentence contains all 26 letters of the English alphabet so it was often used to test typewriters in the past and it is still used to test computer keyboards or when a new font is installed. This ordinary sentence was also the first message sent by the US to the Soviet Union on the day of launching their joint hotline in 1963 to minimize misunderstandings between them and prevent an accidental war. After receiving the cryptic phrase, the Soviet Union reportedly hired cryptographers to identify possible political and military messages behind it. There was a similar anecdote at the inter-Korean summit held at the Peace House in Panmunjom on 27 April 2018. The two Korean leaders’ friendly conversation on a foot bridge televised without sound surprised people across the world. Even a lipreading expert tried to decipher the conversation on television. Through this, the artist sheds light on how strong human desire to explore unknown subjects is. Like the mystery of the far-off supernova through which scientists try to somehow reach the origin of the universe, the artist suggests that the existence of North Korea is an uncharted area that can only be reached in a very limited way by South Koreans, just like the universe.

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