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French curator Nicolas Bourriaud to lead Gwangju Biennale next year

By Park Yuna

Published : May 12, 2023 - 15:27

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Nicolas Bourriaud (courtesy of Sergio Rosales Medina) Nicolas Bourriaud (courtesy of Sergio Rosales Medina)

French curator Nicolas Bourriaud will direct the 15th Gwangju Biennale scheduled to open in September 2024. Bourriaud is a renowned critic in the global art scene who has explored the concept of “relational aesthetics.”

The discourse of relational aesthetics -- which deals with concept of relationships, meditation, participation and interaction -- is often cited as one of the defining concepts in contemporary art. Bourriaud plans to incorporate his artistic philosophy into a discourse-driven exhibition, according to the Gwangju Biennale Foundation on Wednesday.

“I feel honored to be able to contribute to the Gwangju Biennale, which is the most important bienniale in Asia and one of the most inspiring art events in the world since 1995,” Bourriaud stated in a press release.

“The exhibition will address a universal and apparently simple theme, our relation to space. Although it may seem straightforward, this theme will be challenging to explore, because redrawing or redefining space appears as a common issue between climate change, feminism, post-colonialism and the future of the planet. I envision the main exhibition as a cinematic journey, leading the audience through different ‘sequences,’” he added.

Bourriaud has extensive experience in curating large-scale exhibitions, such as “PLANET B. Climate change and the new sublime” in Venice in 2022, which coincided with the Venice Biennale that year. He has also participated in the Istanbul Biennale 2019, Taipei Biennale 2014 and Tate Triennial 2009.

Founded in 1995, the Gwangju Biennale claims to be the longest and longest-running biennale in Asia that began in memory of a civil uprising for democracy in May 1980 against a military dictatorship.