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Gwangju Biennale names 2020 directors

Mar 18,2019
Defne Ayas, left, and Natasha Ginwala have been selected as the Artistic Directors of the 13th edition of the Gwangju Biennale, to be held in 2020. [YONHAP]
The 2020 Gwangju Biennale is expected to strengthen interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary art and visual culture, as the foundation of the prestigious event has selected two young curators famous for finding creative interfaces between disciplines that encompass geopolitics, economy, history and science.

The Gwangju Biennale Foundation announced on Thursday that Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala will be the artistic directors of the 13th edition of the Gwangju Biennale, in 2020.

Ayas, 42, currently works as Curator at Large at the V-A-C Foundation in Moscow and served as the director of the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, from 2012 to 2017. At the Dutch institution, she curated “Art in the Age of …,” an interdisciplinary exhibition in trilogy about the circulation of art and its underlying economies.

Ayas also served as curator of the Pavilion of Turkey in the 56th Venice Biennale and co-curator of the 6th Moscow Biennale in 2015.

Ginwala, 33, is currently the Associate Curator at Gropius Bau, Berlin and artistic director of the interdisciplinary arts festival Colomboscope in Sri Lanka. She was also part of the curatorial team of documenta 14 in Kassel, Germany, in 2017.

“As curators, Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala have been engaged in conceiving daring exhibition and biennale formats within diverse geographies, in each instance composing collaborative contexts and interdisciplinary frameworks that also provide historical anchoring and engagement with local conditions,” the Gwangju Biennale Foundation said in a statement.

The foundation also said the two directors envision a dynamic program that includes an exhibition, performance program, publishing platform and a series of public forums that bring together artists, scientists, and system thinkers for the 2020 Gwangju Biennale.

“They will collectively explore artistic approaches and scientific methods that examine the entire spectrum of intelligence,” the foundation said.

The12th edition of the Gwangju Biennale last year had seven exhibitions created by 11 curators on seven teams. The theme was “Imagined Borders,” a reference to the theme of Gwangju’s inaugural Biennale in 1995, “Beyond the Borders,” as well as political scientist Benedict Anderson’s term “Imagined Communities.”

BY MOON SO-YOUNG [symoon@joongang.co.kr]



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