C.S.C Kim Young-ho
Biennale at a Turning Point to Usher in a New Decade
The Changwon Sculpture Biennale celebrates its sixth edition this year. Korea is the land of biennales, with major cities, such as Changwon, Gwangju, Seoul, Busan, Gongju, Daegu, Daejeon, Mokpo, Gangwon, Cheongju, Gyeonggi, and Jeju, playing host to as many as 16 biennales. The number is unheard of elsewhere in the world. After years of trials and errors, biennales have become a dominant trend in the Korean art community.
The spread of biennales in Korea has been largely driven by decentralization of power. Since the launch of the Gwangju Biennale in 1995, Korean biennales have followed the same trajectory as the country’s local autonomy system. They are viewed as a lab that studies the productive dynamics between the history, culture, and politics of a host city and a key element of local cultural infrastructure that serves different functions than art museums. Nowadays, they are also expected to play a role in boosting the local art scene.
The Changwon Sculpture Biennale is Korea’s only biennale focused exclusively on sculpture. It is a specialized biennale, much like Skulptur Projekte Münster in Germany, and it has grown into a platform that shapes the cultural identity of the host city of Changwon and helps spotlight local artists. Recently, a department dedicated to handling Biennale issues was created under the Changwon Cultural Foundation to improve the professionalism and sustainability of the event. The sixth installment of the Biennale which is set to kick off this October is considered as a turning point to prepare for the next decade.
The 14-member Steering Committee is dedicated to assisting the Artistic Director in creating a successful Biennale. I would like to ask for the interest and participation of Changwon citizens and local and international artists in the upcoming event, which will be critical to making it a global cultural celebration.