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Mon, 26 February 2018 17:01:47

Gangwon International Biennale runs with the theme of 'The Dictionary of Evil' a provocative theme against the backdrop of PyeongChang 2018

The 'Gangwon International Biennale', taking place in Gangwon-do Province

The ‘Gangwon International Biennale’, taking place in Gangwon-do Province and organized by Gangwon International Art Exhibition & Folk Art Festival Organizing Committee, will remain open until 18 March 2018. The event, hosted at Green City Experience Center e-Zen in Gangneung, is taking place during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics – the Games referred to as the ‘Cultural Olympiad’.

Conceptualizing mankind’s common tragic ‘experience’ and ‘situation’ as a dictionary

The international Biennale is making headlines with its scathing theme of facing up to reality – The Dictionary of Evil. Through the keywords of harmony and co-existence, the event challenges other biennales with their mild and ambiguous topics. The theme is greatly provocative, considering that the event is held during the international mega-event – the ‘PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics’ which are founded on harmony and coexistence; equality and peace; humanism – values which have been particularly at the forefront at a time of turbulent geo-politics.

Contemplating the variety of problems and the dark history of human society occurring in complex and confusing realities, the theme of ‘The Dictionary of Evil’ is a paradoxical approach for today, in conflict with ‘the Olympic spirit’. It is intended to discuss the concerns of mankind which should be considered together with the contemporary problems between conscience and neglect from the most essential point of view under ‘artistic license’.

The art director HONG Kyoung-Han described The Dictionary of Evil as being “based on the fundamental role of biennales and the responsibility of artists who have questioned the nature and role of art in society through art language.”

He added “The Dictionary of Evil’ is defined as a concept that reflects the tragic experience and situation in modern history, which conceptualizes them in the pages of a dictionary which should not ever be written. This exhibition is ultimately a thought-provoking showcase aiming to question humanity and human values”.

A gathering of the world’s leading contemporary artists

The Biennale introduces a collection of more than 110 art works by 58 individuals and groups of artists from 23 countries and the variety of art works of media, sculpture, installation, painting and performance are exhibited, and showcases works by artists active throughout the entire modern art scene.

First of all, foreign artists, who have presented outstanding works at major art fields such as the Kassel Documenta, Venice Biennale, and art museums and galleries, have been selected; Thomas Hirschhorn (Switzerland), renowned for being severely critical of the political problems in modern society through the images of violent and miserable moments, reconstructing the violence and world of evil through grotesque images; Wael Shawky (Egypt), who brings the problems of life into the spotlight by substituting epic theater for multi-layered and complicated history, politics and social contexts; Walid Raad (Lebanon/United States), who shows the misconception and oblivion of the history of the Lebanon Civil War; as the continuation of tragedy and trauma.

In addition, it includes the Propeller Group, a multinational group consisting of American and Vietnamese artists; Rafael Gomez Barros (Colombia), famous for his ant sculptures with two skulls connecting back and front, symbolizing death; a couple working both in Australia and the Philippines, Alfredo & Isabel Auilizan (Australia/Philippines); a Japanese video art group Chim↑Pom: who won the ‘Prudential Eye Awards 2015’ which was launched in 2014 to promote Asian contemporary art to the world and to encourage emerging artists from across Asia.

Syrian artist, Tammam Azzam, who has been working on the demanding focus on the tragedy and refugees of the Syrian Civil War; and Akram Zaatari (Lebanon) who is famous for collecting and analyzing a wide range of data of political and cultural situations in the Middle East, are also amongst the list of artists.

Korean artists who are actively working internationally and domestically also attracted our attention; Cho DuckHyun, who is currently a professor in the College of Art and Design at Ewha Women's University; Im HeungSoon, who won the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale 2015; Kim SeungYoung, whose focus is about identity and existence, daily life and more, and human desire; Yangachi, who is focusing on an imaginary country, ‘Middle Korea’ between North Korea and South Korea, the dark side of e-Government and the modernization process of Korea; Lee Wan, who participated as a Korean representative artist at the Venice Biennale 2017.

In addition, Chang Jia, D Hwang, Han HyoSeok, Sim SeungWook, Choi Sun, Choi ChanSook, Black Jaguar, Lee Jinju, Safranski Mackerel, Kim Kira and Kim HyungKyu also exhibit their works of art.

Of special note, works by documentary director, Park Jong-pil, who died of liver cancer on July 28th, 2017, who has recorded poverty issues and disability on site though his entire life and his posthumous works are introduced for the first time ever. Joun JeiHun, a photographer currently working as a miner in Teabaek, Gangwon-do, and Jeong YeonSam, a talented artist who passed away at the age of 31, are also on the international stage for the first time. 


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