gwangju-and-taipei

Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, The Ozymandias Parade, 1985, mixed media. Installation view, Biennale Hall. From the Gwangju Biennale. Photo: Stefan Altenburger.

the Gwangju Biennale and the Taipei Biennial

Various Venues

Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, The Ozymandias Parade, 1985, mixed media. Installation view, Biennale Hall. From the Gwangju Biennale. Photo: Stefan Altenburger.

IT HAS BECOME A COMMONPLACE to note that the fundamental tension of the biennial is between the local and the global, perhaps nowhere more than in the democratized reaches of East Asia, where such exhibitions were introduced in the 1990s, aiming both to examine regional culture and to propel their host nations into the international art world. But this initial impulse has recently matured. Gwangju (founded in 1995 in the dedicated Biennale Park to commemorate the casualties of the 1980 student uprising that upended the South Korean dictatorship) and Taipei (initiated as a series of periodic surveys launched as martial law there was ending, morphing in 2000 into a show curated by a foreign and Taiwanese duo, and moving onward to a single-author model with the 2012 edition), by now the most prominent and consistent examples of such exhibitions, have become durable institutions,

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