• 11th Gwangju Biennale: “The Eighth Climate (What Does Art Do?)”

    Gwangju Biennale
    Biennale Hall, Gwangju City Museum, Folk Museum Gwangju, South Korea
    September 2–November 6, 2016

    Curated by Maria Lind

    “A place outside all places, outside of where.” This was, according to French philosopher and Islamic scholar Henry Corbin, the eighth climate—a realm first described by Persian theosophist Shahab al-Din al-Suhrawardi in the twelfth century as being accessible only via “psycho-spiritual senses.” Drawing inspiration from Suhrawardi’s antirationalist geography, this year’s Gwangju Biennale features projects by 101 artists, as well as lectures, discussions, and a publication accompanying the show. “The Eighth Climate (What Does Art Do?)” poses a question that has prompted participating artists to look both backward and forward in time: A project by siren eun young jung, for example, unearths the subversive history of Yeosung Gukgeuk, a genre of all-female Korean vaudeville, while work by Tyler Coburn imagines ergonomic furniture for humanity’s highly evolved descendants. The subtitular query is simple yet loaded: As climate disaster impends, what role does the artist have? Can the mounting ills of our physical world be countered by the capacity of artists in an immaterial one?