Koreans to grace Venice art festivalIt has been more than a century since the art world’s first biennale opened in Venice, in 1895. Along with the nearly decade-old Gwangju Biennale, there are over 100 such art fairs around the world, becoming an entertainment and tourist phenomenon and helping spread interest in contemporary art.
This month, the city that gave birth to the biennale is celebrating a special milestone ― on June 14, the 50th Venice Biennale kicks off. It’s a five-month celebration of art that this year’s director, Francesco Bonami, has titled “Dream and Conflict.”
Once again, as there has been in every Venice Biennale since 1995, there will be a Korean gallery as part of the festival. The title of the Korean section this year will be “Scene of Differences,” and it will open on June 12 with a panel discussion about the Korean artwork on display and an opening reception party the following day.
Kim Hong-hee, the director of Ssamzie Space, the artist studio, gallery and all-round creative venue in western Seoul, is leading the Korea exhibit at the biennale. Ms. Kim says that she came up with the Korean title by tweaking the festival’s title, reinterpreting “conflict” as “difference” and “dream” as “scene.”
Three Korean artists will be participating in the biennale: Hwang In-gi, Park I-so and Jeong Seo-yeong. Each of them will display artwork that explores the relationship between art and nature, and between internal space and external landscapes.
The exhibition of Korean artists aims to show both the individual color of the artists as well as represent the contemporary art tastes of Korea.
The artists left for Venice last month and are said to be busy preparing as opening day approaches.
One of the most striking works is also the first. As one enters, one first comes across Mr. Hwang’s “Like a Breeze,” a black acrylic work made from mirror fragments. This 28 meter long (31 yard) mural invokes a traditional, oriental landscape painting, while alluding to today’s Venice.
by Chung Jae-suk
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