INHABITING THE WORLD, BUSAN BIENNALE 2014

After the thrills of the Gwangju biennale, Busan was always going to be difficult to match.

 

It didn't help that from my initial research, I had already formed an opinion about it that was not entirely positive.

 

Like Gwangju, it had followed the standard biennale model of an international director, a healthy mix of Korean, Asian and international art and the obligatory catchy title.  However, Inhabiting the World seemed ambiguious and at times, obscure.  Director Oliver Kaeppelin had attempted to show that 'artists may have more efficient, sustainable anaylsis and alterations for various social issues and transformations than experts of a certain field or academics' (Kaeppellin, 2014).  What that meant exactly, I did not know.

 

The main exhibition was a sedate, calm affair housed in the grand Busan Museum of Art.  There were several stand out works that I have detailed below but overall, I felt the exhbition was too spread out and the artworks too far apart to to encourage the visitor to ponder how they might relate.

 

What did end up being more interesting was the satellite exhbition  Asian Curatorial, curated by four young Asian artists and housed in a working steel factory on the other side of the city.  It was a display of the diverse and experimental art scene of young, emerging artists and felt enormously more exciting to visit.   Our tour only afforded us two hours here but I could easily have spent more.

 

A final exhibition at the Busan Cultural Centre entitled Voyage to Biennale - 50 Years of Korean Contemporary Art in Overseas Biennales was interesting from an historical perspective but contributed little to the curatorial theme.