BEYOND THE EXHIBITION HALLS
As part of my trip, I was also keen to see places, taste food and meet some of the poeple who live in these two fascinating countries.
A hidden restaurant recommended to us by one of the curators of the Gwangju Biennale. This restaurant had no name and no menu. A place we would never had found alone. We sat at a table and we were fed. Little dishes of barbecued fish, chicken stew, sliced omelette, soups, rice and of course, endless varieties of kimchi.
MINI AMP AND MIC
The weapon of choice for the Korean art gallery attendant. Used to herd coach loads of pensioners or gaggles of school children around the exhibition whilst providing details on the artworks before them. The attendants held the microphones with both hands and spoke earnestly. I always secretly hoped one of them would break into song.
A wander around the unfamiliar city of Gwangju spending time with strangers who became friends.
TRADITIONAL DRESS SHOP
I saw this elegant shop front on a Busan side street surrounded by fast food restaurants and backpacker bars. It made me wonder what history Busan held, who in the city visited this shop and where they might wear one of these beautiful outfits.
SOCKS AND SHOES
Koreans and Taiwanese take their socks very seriously. Whilst there, I began to feel they were important too. Over the course of the two week trip, I bought seven new pairs of socks. I already had enough socks.
Popular street food in Korea. Vegetables, noodles and seaweed in assorted shapes deep fried fresh and then deep fried a second time when ordered. Served with chilli-laced fish sauce. The perfect accompaniment to a cold beer or makgeolli, a milky sweet alcoholic drink made from rice.
Spotted in random urban parts of Taipei, these beautifully and carefully painted boxes always featured images of the beach, the ocean and tall rushes billowing and blowing. If you watched closely, you could almost hear the sounds of wind and waves instead of the noise of traffic and the city.
On the final day of the trip, I saw this abandoned chair on a street in Taipei. It fascinated me. What did it mean? Why was it there? Had it been set intentionally? Was it creating a dialogue with the wall behind? I suppose after such an intense fortnight of looking at art, I could no longer see anything else.
DR. DAVID McNEIL
A wonderful teacher with a limitless knowledge of contemporary art and a curiosity and enthusiasm to match. His insights into artists and in particular, their connections with art from previous biennales and beyond continually astounded me.
DR. FELICITY FENNER
Despite being markedly quieter than her colleague, she was by no means afraid to punctuate the end of his speeches with the phrase 'I completely disagree with you, David'. She brought a keen curatorial eye to the trip and offered brilliant insights into the physical considerations necessary for putting on a successful exhibition.
TAIWANESE STREET FOOD
Simple. Delicious. Cheap. Delicious. Everywhere. Delicious.