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View of “Roundtable,” 2012, Gwangju Biennale Hall. Foreground: Michael Joo, Indivisible, 2012. Background, from left: Mark Bradford, 1872 South, 2012; Mark Bradford, 1910 West, 2012.

the 2012 Gwangju Biennale

View of “Roundtable,” 2012, Gwangju Biennale Hall. Foreground: Michael Joo, Indivisible, 2012. Background, from left: Mark Bradford, 1872 South, 2012; Mark Bradford, 1910 West, 2012.

THE 2012 GWANGJU BIENNALE, titled “Roundtable,” was the very image of contradiction: Diverse perspectives convened—collided?—around the idea of collaboration itself, turning the act of assembling shared viewpoints into one of radical dispersal. Although its catalogue did make the most of its name, convening a “Roundtable on ‘Roundtable,’” the exhibition’s dedication to the anodyne metaphor of exchange was ill suited to the wildly divergent opinions and positions of its organizers. Unfolding across the five gallery spaces of Gwangju Biennale Hall and as far as five off-site venues, “Roundtable” from the start was vexed in delivering the egalitarian exchange its name implied. One would not, of course, expect a biennial with six artistic codirectors to yield a cogent, singular vision—indeed, this could have been part of its promise, to realign the stakes and escape

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