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Sook-Kyung Lee. Photo: Roger Sinek.
Sook-Kyung Lee. Photo: Roger Sinek.

Tate’s Sook-Kyung Lee Named Artistic Director of 2023 Gwangju Biennale

Sook-Kyung Lee, senior curator of international art at London’s Tate Modern, has been announced as the artistic director the fourteenth iteration of South Korea’s Gwangju Biennale, to run April 7–July 9, 2023. The Biennale, one of Asia’s most prestigious art events and typically one of the world’s best-attended, was pushed back a full year from its originally scheduled 2022 date after the thirteenth edition, which itself had been moved ahead a year owing to Covid, saw a dearth of visitors as the pandemic rattled on.

Lee is the the first Korean-born curator since Kim to lead the event. Prior to her 2019 arrival at Tate Modern, where she recently organized a well-regarded retrospective of the work of Nam June Paik, Lee worked at Tate Liverpool and the Tate Research Center. In 2015, she curated the Korean Pavilion at the Fifty-Sixth Venice Biennale in 2015, notably presenting work by Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho.

“The role of art is to address our shared crisis and to propose future directions: race and class conflicts, climate emergency and environmental concerns, and the pandemic caused by Covid-19 are such crises on a planetary dimension that artists of our time are exploring,” Lee noted. She went on to say that the upcoming Biennale will be informed by a “non-Western perspective” and will represent a “transformation of relationship between centers and peripheries, truly equal connections and exchanges and a vision for better human communities.”

Though no theme has yet been revealed for  the 2023 Gwangju Biennale, its organizers in a press release said it will center around the “Gwangju Spirit” and place the South Korean city tin global context. The event will additionally exemplify a “planetary vision” taking into account “racial, cultural, and historical diversity.”