May 28, 2004 - Gwangju Biennale - 2004
May 28, 2004


10 September – 13 November 2004

Gwangju Biennale Foundation
San 149-2 Yongbong-dong Buk-gu Gwangju 500-070 Korea
Phone +82 62 608 4260
Fax +82 62 608 4269
biennale [​at​]

The Gwangju Biennale 2004, curated by Yongwoo Lee and co-curated by Kerry Brougher, Sukwon Chang, is a cultural forum that will experiment with established cultural actions, those that are centered around the specialist and cultural power, and transform them into a new concept: the spectator’s direct participation in cultural creation. The Biennale’s theme, “A Grain of Dust A Drop of Water”, will be the source of an active discourse on visual culture’s contrasting and fragmented viewpoints and their acceptance or rejection as a form of cultural discourse.

The Biennale’s proposed discussion on culture implies a reordering of essential values and, specifically, a redefining of the norms of those aesthetic decisions that, until now, have been determined by the powerful fiefdom of the elite. It also implies an experience of the various mechanisms that form the stage where individuals and groups distinct from one another express their expectations by transcending the established system of power that recognizes and produces art.
The Gwangju Biennale 2004 is the place where one will be able to read art and culture as instruments of vibrant social networking and to read the mechanisms of its support system as the ambition that art, through popular communication, can function like a thoughtful and beautiful present for the spectator. Although “A Grain of Dust, A Drop of Water” is, on the one hand, but a small step in this direction, on the other hand, it is a big step, because far greater than matter is discourse. This theme, then, seeks to reveal great secrets beginning with the smallest ones. Dust and water are an ecological semiotics that justify interdisciplinary work.
The Theme: A Grain of Dust A Drop of Water
‘A Grain of Dust A Drop of Water’ is a vital natural phenomenon and ecological interpretation of order describing the cycle of creation and extinction. Dust suggests noise and cries, covers the objects of our conspicuous consumption that are remains of our industrial society. A drop of water suggests the medium of creation, animates the inanimate thus allowing the cycle of life. Dust, together with water, heals the negative elements of the contemporary society, thus revitalizing the new cultural & aesthetics values in the present world.
Theme exhibition
For successful visual representation of the concept of exhibition in accordance with the theme, gallery 1 through 3 will represent Dust, Water, and Dust+Water. Gallery 4 will hold various performing art events and visual art exhibitions to lead viewers to cultural catharsis.
The Sites
Site 1: Amusing Footsteps
Site 2: Korea Express
Site 3: And Others
Site 4: Biennale Eco-Metro
The Viewer-Participants
The viewers take the essential role in organizing the Gwangju Biennale 2004 exhibition. Before the selection of artists and curators for the exhibition, the Biennale invited sixty potential viewers of the exhibition from around the world. These potential viewers, whom we call the Viewer-Participants, were selected after careful research by the Viewer-participants task force team in reference to the thirteen key sources of documentation, including the World Citizens Assembly (WCA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations’ world demographics map, and the Korean Ministry of Labor’s professional data bank, etc…

An important role of the Viewer-participants will be the production of the comprehensive aesthetic consciousness for our times. The variety of aesthetic perceptions will be used in the curatorial research and be reflected on the final selection of the artists participating in the Gwangju Biennale 2004. The Viewer-participants will team up with the artists and, when necessary, this team will join with specialists such as art critics and exhibition curators to form an even larger team. In this way, the role of the Viewer-participants in the Gwangju Biennale 2004 will undergo a dramatic change from passive observer to active producer of culture.

The Gwangju Biennale 2004 will change and redefine the conventional relationship of the curators, artists as the producers and viewers as the consumers of the biennale; furthermore, it will initiate the rethinking of the biennale through discussions on the common problems in many other biennales.
Assistant Curators: Milena Kalinovska, Chika O. Okeke, Roberto Pinto, Rhee Won-il

Gwangju Biennale Foundatioin
San 149-2 Yongbong-dong Buk-gu Gwangju 500-070 Korea
Phone +82 62 608 4260
Fax +82 62 608 4269

Gwangju Biennale
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