Design biennale thinks outside the box

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Design biennale thinks outside the box


“Field,” a structure made of blue and white ceramic bars, is one of the works to be installed as part of the Gwangju Design Biennale 2011. The work is by Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, who is co-director of the biennale but cannot come to Korea when the show starts in September because he is banned from leaving China following his arrest earlier this year. Provided by the organizer

A wide range of “designers” including the Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, the French architect Dominique Perrault, the Korean film director Bong Joon-ho and even a local plastic surgeon will present their works in the two-month-long Gwangju Design Biennale 2011, which starts on Sept. 2 in the southwestern city of Gwangju.

“This year’s biennale focuses on the basic question - what is design,” Seung H-Sang, a renowned Korean architect and the co-director of the biennale, said at a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday.

“The world is changing and design can no longer be viewed as the privileged domain of a limited set of names, objects, forms and modes of production,” Seung said. “We must understand design as a fundamental act of intervening in the way we live.”

Accordingly, the 129 artists and 74 companies from 44 countries participating in the biennale include those who are not necessarily considered to be designers, such as a Norwegian farming project group, U.S. prosthesis makers and a Ghanaian carpentry workshop that makes coffins in the African style.

Many of these “designers” in the extended meaning will present their works in the “Unnamed” exhibition, Seung said. “Unnamed” refers to being “undervalued as a designer,” he explained.

“The “Unnamed” exhibition strongly reflects the ideas of co-director Ai WeiWei,” Seung said. “He proposed that the participants should be selected from fields that seem to be the most distant from design.”


Seung H-Sang, co-director of the Gwangju Design Biennale 2011 [YONHAP]

His ideas may be represented, but Ai, now in Beijing, will not be present at the biennale. He is banned from leaving China for a year following his release on bail late last month. The government critic was arrested in early April and the Chinese authorities later announced that he was accused of tax evasion. Artists and civic groups in Hong Kong and Western countries have strongly protested Ai’s detention, claiming political repression by the ruling Communist Party.

“Ai and I had already talked about the biennale’s concept and artist selection before he was detained,” Seung said. “And I visited him in Beijing after he was released. Though he cannot come to Korea now, his work ‘Field’ will be presented in the biennale’s ‘Thematic’ exhibition.”

“Field” is a large-scale structure made of blue and white ceramic bars. The “Thematic” exhibition will also include works by U.S. composer D.J. Spooky, which combine audio, video and performance.

Another exhibition in the biennale, “Named,” will show works by famous designers such as Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo and Canadian design company Bruce Mau Design. In an exhibition called “Community,” the designers will show projects that require collaboration with viewers.

Meanwhile, the “Urban Folly” exhibition is attracting particular attention. Ten famous architects including Perrault, Peter Eisenman and Juan Herreros will build 10 small follies (buildings constructed for ornamental reasons) in various parts of downtown Gwangju. The exhibition is based on the idea that design is a means of establishing a strong link between the environment and citizens.

By Moon So-young []

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

세계의 대가들 도심 13곳을 바꾼다 … 가을 광주광역시는 ‘디자인 특별시’

광주 디자인비엔날레 9월 개막

오는 9월부터 약 두 달간 광주광역시가 거대한 ‘디자인 시티’로 변모한다. 9월 2일부터 10월 23일까지 제4회 광주디자인비엔날레(가 열린다.

44개국 작가 129명의 작가와 74개 기업이 참여한다. 올해 주제는 ‘도가도비상도(圖可圖非常圖)’. ‘디자인이 디자인이면 디자인이 아니다’라는 뜻이다. 노자 『도덕경』의 ‘도가도비상도(道可道非常道)’에서 차용했다.

2011 광주디자인비엔날레 승효상 총감독은 12일 서울 프레스센터에서 기자회견을 열고 올해 디자인비엔날레의 밑그림을 공개했다. 디자인과 건축을 넘나드는 다채로운 프로그램, 기존 전시장의 틀을 뛰어넘는 공간 활용, 참여 작가들의 쟁쟁한 면면이 눈길을 끈다. 무엇보다 디자인에 대한 전통적인 인식을 깨겠다는 의지가 강하게 엿보인다.

승 감독은 “시대가 급속도로 바뀌어 기존의 디자인 개념으로는 설명할 수 없는 현상이 벌어지고 있다. 이번 비엔날레는 과연 디자인이 무엇인가를 묻는 데 초점을 맞췄다”고 말했다.

그는 이 질문을 파고드는 두 가지 키워드로 ‘이름’과 ‘장소’를 들었다. “유명한 디자인, 아무도 거들떠보지 않는 디자인, 장소에 기반을 둔 디자인, 장소성이 없는 디자인을 모두 아우르며 우리 일상과 디자인의 관계를 재탐색하겠다”고 했다.

전시는 ‘주제’ ‘유명’ ‘무명’ ‘커뮤니티’ ‘어번 폴리’ ‘비엔날레 시티’ 등 총 6개로 나뉘어 열린다. 주제전(큐레이터 배형민)의 8개 작품 중에는 올해 디자인비엔날레 공동감독이자 세계적인 중국 아티스트 아이웨이웨이(54·艾未未)의 설치작품 ‘필드(Field)’가 포함돼 있다.

기존 디자이너들의 창작 세계를 다룬 유명전(큐레이터 조민석·안소니 폰테노)에서는 16개 국가 53개 팀이 작품 42점을, 보다 확대된 디자인의 의미를 되새기는 무명전(브랜단 맥게트릭)에는 32개국 94개 팀이 73개 작품을 선보인다.

가장 주목을 끄는 것은 어번 폴리전(큐레이터 김영준)이다. 세계적인 건축가들이 구(舊) 광주 도심지역 13곳에 소규모 공공건축물을 설치한다.

국내 건축가 조성룡(성균관대 석좌교수)을 비롯, 후안 헤레로스·플로리안 베이겔·피터 아이젠만·도미니크 페로 등 세계적인 건축가가 참여해 버스 정류장, 지하철역 입구, 파출소에 변화를 시도한다. 작은 설치물이지만, 디자인이 도심에 어떻게 문화적 활력을 제공할 수 있는지 보여줄 계획이다.

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