The digital technology that transcends time and space and makes networking possible has tied the earth into a single community, integrating the world into a single market. Within an app installed on our smartphones, 10 billion people around the world transcend their religious, ethnical and national boundaries and are networked together. Humanity is currently living in a ‘generation of multitude’ that no other generation has ever experienced.
Lida Abdul is famous for her works related to Afghanistan, her country of origin. The landscape that mesmerized her in the land that suffered 35 years of war was traces of ruins. Her work <in transit> (2008) is set in the outskirts of Kabul where the landscape is totally in ruins because of 20 long years of war. More than 70 children between 5 and 9 years of age are featured in the work. The children try to fill all the bullet holes in the fuselage of crashed bomber aircraft and pull it to make it fly like a kite in their efforts to transform the atrocities of war into hopes and a new future. Despite the tragic and violent situation they are in, the children are trying to neutralize such tragedy they are in through their innocence. Another work <time, love, and the working of anti-love>(2013) is composed of a photographic camera, 300 passport photos and sound (a voice that delivers a poignant text beautifully but painfully). The presence of the voice, or its absence, makes her work shine more bright.
The work of Rina Banerjee features scattered people, bodies that populate and pollinate land, sea, and air. The artist mainly engages in handicraft such as binding, wiring, stitching and attaching. She immerses herself in connecting parts or materials that have become fragmented and non-compatible because they didn’t really speak to each other. She continues to venture into aesthetic exploration in order to rediscover new and diverse beauty by connecting impulsively selected bits of things she collected from before.
Aya Ben Ron expands the unconscious memory of an ill body, perception of death and morality, and pain in a socio-historical context as much as possible. All of her works are based on the experience Ben Ron has accumulated over the years by thoroughly studying medical manuals and sketches, diseases and medical treatment. Ben Ron transcends the categorical boundaries of the two disciplines. Despite the obvious presence of death and pain in her work, no sentimental intervention or no glamorization of death and illness can be found. Aya Ben Ron keeps an emotional distance and uses a grim sense of humor to explore medical procedures in a socio-historical context as much as possible.
Renaissance, all creation, modernization were favorite words used publically and as political slogans during the 70’s and 80’s in Korea. These words once loved by the whole nation have now become a rare sight one can only find on signboards in the countryside. From ‘Renaissance Store’ that doesn’t seem to be able to revive, ‘All Creation Store’ which doesn’t seem to be big enough to offer all kinds of creations, to ‘Modernization Store’ which doesn’t seem modern at all, keywords of the desire of the time could be perceived. Intense desire for abundance of an era accompanied by poverty, decline and absence connect to the present like a shadow of irony and irrationality. Cho Hyeongseob elaborates on the values and ideals we have lost in the pieces of our memory or on their boundaries.
<long may you run> (2016) starts from drilling 304 holes in the surface of old walls left in the KISWIRE Suyeong factory. These holes connect old spaces that have been taken out of use and spaces that have been newly formed in order to perform their roles as a bridge of light that enables exchanges between the blunt function of the past and the future which is full of new expectations. These holes are filled with ‘some disappeared objects or the parts of them which are recovered’ or ‘not disposed and preserved, but now the meaning of preserving is faded’.
Artist Choi Sungrok is engaged in transforming contemporary social, cultural, historical landscape and incidents into an epic by using digital technologies and new media. His work <operation mole–end game>(2016) is a high-definition 2D animation. The animation created with the motif of underground tunnels made by North Korea to invade the South in the 70’s, forms a single personal yet social panorama which connects with contemporary events in diverse and complex ways. This work lines up and combines scenes and memories of barbarism and corruption taking place within our civilization in a single frame. Scenes that transcend time and space to connect, create, destroy and start again are tactfully combined and reconstructed through axis of time and in the form of game.
<rose garden>(2014) is a tragic story that takes place in a Texan bar. It can be said that this work is a pastiche of Luis Buñuel’s surrealist film <the golden age>(1930). The name of the bar must have come from the slogan ‘We Don’t Promise You a Rose Garden’ written in a Marine Corps recruitment poster. However, the slogan whose usage was so ignorantly changed by the Marine Corps was originally taken from the book ‘I Didn’t Promise You a Rose Garden’, which is about a schizophrenic woman who created her own world in an elaborate fantasy. One may consider this work to be a film that has the contrast between its dramatic storyline and lighthearted composition as its key theme. A number of stories exist independently, yet, all of those independent scenes overlap. Just like the scenes in Buñuel’s film, the plot is played out without enough explanation. Conversations in it are illogical as if written by a child, and at times, voice tracks don’t match the actors’ mouth movements. The soundtracks change the mood, but none of them are congruous with the scenes. The film seems like an alternate reality.
Kiri Dalena who deals with Philippine’s sociopolitical issues is an artist and a social activist. The title of her work <after mebuyan>(2016) is a goddess of the underworld in Philippine mythology which controls life and death using rice. Mebuyan, which is a figure with multiple breasts, sits on a table for pounding and grinding rice with her hands full of rice grains, the symbol of life. The scattered grains after falling from her hands are a ‘proclamation of death of the crowd and the public’. In another Mindanaon tribe, the Manobos, they perform a rites and ritual of sculpting a human figure out of cooked rice after a burial which all partakes of.
In 2016, the farmers of Province of Cotavato located in the northern Philippines confronted extreme draught due to El Nino. More than 6,000 farmers formed a human barricade across the highway in order to ask for rice aid. The government of the Philippines sent armed police to dissolve them by compulsion using water cannons and bayonets. A farmer was killed and scores were injured in the forceful dispersal.
The number 635 in <after mebuyan>(2016) is the number of tenant farmers and human activists killed by the governmental authority of the Philippines over the past 15 years. The artist borrowed a ritual in Philippine mythology and made 635 grains of rice with 14K gold to pay homage to those wrongly killed.
Folkert de Jong is best known for his expressive sculptures and installations arising from a strong fascination with the psychological and the bodily human condition. De Jong is interested in reexamining cultural symbols and historical figures, and the potential for sculpture to transform existing narratives. In particular, De Jong’s signature style is formed by his idiosyncratic use of insulation materials such as candy-colored polyurethane and Styrofoam - a choice that was not simply an anti-hierarchical gesture. These materials are pollutant, and their effects on the environment radically detrimental. The works that are shown at Busan Biennale 2016 are based around the idea of Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man (published in 1870) and The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. The remarkable <operation harmony>(2008) evokes conflict in its graphic depiction of charred and dismembered bodies - seated, standing, kneeling, hanging upside down and stretched horizontally across space, like the living dead.The symbolic cycle suggested in the circle of apes in the installation <early years>(2008) depicts not evolution from ape to man, but simply movement. The pink framework in <operation harmony>(2008) could be a fragment taken from a chain of historical events, and the ape tower an absurd attempt for morality: ‘Speak no evil, Hear no evil, See no evil.’ The only piece that stands out from the idea that mankind is deluded of his own originality and uniqueness is the work <double happiness>(2008) The two white monkeys -borrowing from their symbolic meaning in Zodiac astrology-represent the underestimation of nature by men. The monkeys mirror our own absurdness in how we are programmed to believe that we can escape and control the natural cycles of planet Earth, when instead we should learn to be part of it, and accept the fact that we are fragile and mortal beings.
Fang Lijun is one of the most influential artists in contemporary Chinese art. The ‘bald’ figure in his paintings has become the most classic symbol of contemporary Chinese art, and his work style has been defined as falling under the category of cynical realism. Cynical realism was a resistance against the culture during those times. Thus, expressions that sought to break away from heavy and serious themes as well as precipitous screens were dominant. <2014-2015>(2015) is an 8 meters wide painting, and it is one of Fang Lijun’s recent major works. The numerous, big babies in the painting have their backs to the audience and face the huge sun. The strong light the sun gives out seems like massive energy emitted by an atomic nucleus. Babies in the painting stare vacantly at the scene silently. Such intense yet tranquil irony is the most gripping of parts in Fang Lijun’s recent works. In the recent years, his works display a trend of the screen getting bigger and bigger. Moreover, whereas his past works were mainly about bald figures, more and more baby figures are featured in his recent works. This could be closely related to him getting a daughter in 2005. The birth of his daughter must have been a significant change to Fang Lijun in which his life turned into that of a father, and that unconsciously melted into his personal life, unwittingly influencing his work style.
Zoro Feigl’s work is composed of movements and various traces left by such movements. His work is a potent yet elegant installation created by the combination of kinetic energy delivered to ropes and repeating patterns. In <untangling the tides>(2014) which is a creation made by the rise and fall of the sea, the sea forms a shore and the shore then contributes in turn to the formation of the sea. Two thick ropes spread out in the space do not cease to stop like the sea pushing the waters to the shore. As if imitating the tide coming in and going out, the ropes come into contact, moves across, and then get loose again. In <hoop>(2015), black hoops run back and forth along a steel pipe, spinning and twirling from one end to the next like a game of some sort children play. At times, the hoops violently bounce off while twisting and turning, and then suddenly dance gracefully in perfect harmony. The smaller hoops easily pass through the larger hoops, ceaselessly disrupting each other’s movements, bumping into each other, and create a rhythmic choreography. <poppy>(2012) in which a gigantic tarpaulin spreads out in an elegant dance of waves and curls somehow resembles fragile and delicate poppy flowers. However, there is an enchanting force at work in this hypnotizing dance. Aggressive battle between gravity, friction and centrifugal force is manifested.
There is no sound without movement, no image without sound. These three elements are necessary accomplices that are hopelessly intertwined. ’Ibelisse’s performance <selvage>(2016) was developed by the inspiration she obtained during the course of learning Wushu, Kungfu and whip from Taoist (Wudang Mountains) and Buddhist (Shaolin temple) monks in China for three months. The performance of swishing whips against a white wall is a work of cyclic meditation to Ibelisse. The movements of whips create sound and leave black traces on the white wall. The performance continues for at least 3 hours and as time goes by, what’s left gradually inscribed on the wall are traces – a tribute to the movements, sounds and images.
<requiem>(2016) manifests inhuman abuse of treating children, girls and women as sex slaves and forcing them to work like machines. Probir Gupta pays homage to sex slaves today through this work. Inscribed on the iron plates at the back of the work are names of flowers in memory of abducted women. This visually abnormal work provides metaphorical translation of human atrocities. <we are in the same boat brother>(2012) reflects the Diaspora of Jews in India. It displays Hindus, Muslims and Christians coexisting peacefully and living a happy life in a dystopia among Islamic extremists. The guardians who manage Jewish synagogues are third generation Muslims. In the film, scenes that have structures of skeletons, objects, feedbacks from Israelis integrated in them can be witnessed. Having <the old man and the sea> written by Ernest Hemingway as its reference book, the work was inspired by a real life situation of the Jews and Muslims coexisting peacefully and unthreatened on the busily crowded road of Kolkata.
Hong Wonseok’s <hong wonseok chauffeur service project-joyous experience, socar>(2016) is a performance work made up of several projects. It consists of Project 1, which deals with Korea-China-Japan’s indigenous and autonomous avant-garde in the 70’s and 80’s, and Project 2, which deals with Busan Museum of Art and global biennales since the 90’s. Participating artists, curators, citizens move between the two exhibition halls including KISWIRE Suyeong factory via taxi and exchange questions and answers regarding matters related to Korea and the world, life and culture, commercial potential and countries. The artist hopes his work serves as an uncomfortable and painful venue in which the inefficiency of market, irrationality of humans, fundamental vulnerabilities of art subjugated to markets and institutions and so forth can be reflected upon. Hong Wonseok’s<substitute driving project>(2016)is a microcosm of the theme of this Biennale, ‘Hybridizing Earth Discussing Multitude’.
Hu Jieming’s <synchrony>(2016) is a video work which borrows the method of shooting large-scale photography. It is a work that filmed a large group of people who travel beyond space and time. The identity of the people in the large-scale photographs unfolds in mixed spaces and times. A variety of scenes that change contain all sorts of narratives. The subjects of the film were taken from photographs of the distant past. Starting from the artist’s friends to historical figures from a different time period, the range of the people in the photographs is very extensive. Using special effects, Hu Jieming writes new stories by giving movements to the faces of each of the figures in the photograph. People in the photographs who came from different spaces and times have different physical characteristics. By compiling them together via single space and time, the artist seeks to express mixed-race identity and each of the different journeys of life.
Saleh Husein’s<and everything around us is beautiful>(2016) is a fictional work based on ‘Tjahaja PASI’ (The Light of PASI), a hymn to hopes and dreams of Indonesian Islamic Socialism. During the riot in 1966, the government of Indonesia banned everything related to communism or socialism under the name of protecting the society. Even songs, composition and hymns were included in the things that were banned. The artist’s work examines how a political party can make use of songs as tools to control or instigate political statements, uniform mechanisms or people. In order to do so, the artist ruminates on the Arabs’ perspective on globalization through the use of Western cultures (the brass section of an orchestra and choir). The work reenacts ‘layartancep’ (outdoor movie screening), which is a type of screening once frequently used as a propaganda tool in politics in Indonesia a long time ago.
Multimedia artist ErdalInci experiments on cloned movements through his video work. The artist creates hypnotic video or GIF files of himself moving through public spaces carrying lights or other objects at times. Inci appears to be no more than a shadow, or completely disappears depending on his exposure to light, creating an even more mysterious and dreamy video. Inci focused on the fact that if he keeps on cloning the recorded performance, the video will move perpetually. All the time phases of the same movements can be seen in brief moments such as 1 or 2 seconds. Inci thought this could give the viewer a chance to think like a choreographer who directs a large group of people or a painter who can fill a frame not with forms or colors but with motions. ErdalInci was inspired by the patterns used in traditional arts and crafts, dance and repetition. His work can be described as a summary of movement, performance, and actual environments.
Jang Jaerok was mesmerized by gigantic artificial structures and delicate mechanical devices. Therefore, his oriental paintings are drawn like a floor plan, using markings on a ruler, as if all the distances were measured mechanically. They are far from cheerful or vivid paintings dashed off with a stroke of a brush. The world we live in is full of machines and artificial structures. The artist does not just paint smoothly finished external appearance of a machine. The machines or structures in his work seem like a bizarre and terrifying anatomical chart.
The northeast region of China is the heart of China’s heavy industry as well as a place where numerous historical events took place in China’s modern history. The northeast and the northern region have brought about China’s rapid economic growth earlier, but they suffered economic decline since the 80’s through the 90’s. As a result, the majority of heavy industry factories went bankrupt or closed down, leaving hundreds and thousands of factory workers change or quit their job. In a blink of an eye, absolute egalitarianism under planned economy of the past is transformed into performance-based market economy. The misfortune and desolation including the factory workers the society experienced became scars and pains of the times. The most salient part in the work of Jia Aili who thoroughly observed that particular time period, is the scene ‘in ruins’. In order to give the feeling of things being ‘in ruins’, Jia Aili paints machines and people dim and blurry in his work. This enables the viewers to imagine and feel the chaotic environment and the solitude of an individual. The lives of the people manifested in his paintings all carry a feeling of helplessness of the times, and humans are only left as weak and weary beings against the gigantic screen. His works make us reflect on our past and talk of a sad future in which we are forced to come to grips with reality. Despite the fact that the stage of Jia Aili’s new work <hermit from the planet ⅱ>(2016)is set against the background of an endlessly wide and cozy screen, the feeling of being ‘in ruins’ consistently present in all of his works still remains.
Artist Jin Yangping enjoys the disillusionment and disgust left of modernism and socialism, and openly creates ‘B-class paintings’. ‘B-class paintings’ describes the tendency of openly distorting and overthrowing mainstream values and forms in order to attack the universal weaknesses the spirit of humanity has and the fundamental vulnerability of contemporary human existence. As if Deconstructivism denounces the oppressive nature of Stalinism as well as deconstructs metadiscourse of Neoliberalism, the artist attacks both the form and the content of Chinese art of the times. Jin Yangping mocks creativity and originality, and does not pursue completion of works. His work is expressed in a discontinuous, random and fragmented manner. The works of Jin Yangping are ‘anti periodical philosophy’, and that is the way a ‘B-class artist’ paints.
<hyphenated lives>(2015-2016) is a reconfiguration of fantastical mutations taking place in nature. Various species of birds, animals, trees, flowers that symbolize different countries are hybridized to connect conflicts between countries by hyphens in a symbolic way. Reena Kallat felt the need to express the impact an existence or extinction of something can have on other species through the use of species other than human. The motif of the series of such works came from electric cables. An electric cable which transfers thoughts and information brings people together, and forms painstakingly woven entanglements that transform barbed wires such as barriers. Exploration of such independence and interdependence casts light on the relationship between the conflicted selves, neighbors and perhaps countries. It also makes us ponder upon many different relationships and boundaries that constitute our complex existence. The artist has continued works under the same context for many years, and <two degrees> which was presented at Campbeltown Arts Center in Sydney was the start of such series of works. The focus of the work expanded from her long-standing interest on politically divided yet historically close countries to natural resources that are at the root of conflicts and disputes between divided countries such as India-Pakistan, Ireland-England, Israel-Palestine, South Korea-North Korea, and the USA-Cuba.
Kim Hak-J poses a question ‘has swarm intelligence of the world truly gained sympathy and moving in the right direction?’ Humanity leaves traces of its vulnerability at each period in history so that it is not an exaggeration to describe history of humanity the ‘history of desire’. The forms best values represented by swarm intelligence of today adopt can be defined as technology that are rapidly developing and our ensuing presence in space. The artist seeks to express consolidation of the world’s intelligence for the obtainment of such values and the dark shadow of desire hidden behind conflicts. A fake satellite is installed on the floor and the wall like a tomb, and photographs attached to the wings of the satellite present iconic codes for ‘schizophrenic phenomena’ and ‘desire’ which are premised on the free flow of monetary capital of the ‘capitalistic machine’, the only society that is premised on decoded flow as proposed by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Images of a robot taking a lonesome walk in vast space and a human are projected on the surface of the wall to create an atmosphere that is ‘implied’ on the whole. Pop music pioneer David Bowie’s ‘Space oddity’ which is about communicating with an alien and 10 CC’s ‘I’m not in love’are cross cut and played.
Kwon Sunkwan displays a scene related to our modern history with his work <the valley of darkness>. A tragedy of modern history that took place decades ago, ‘No Gun Ri Massacre’, was taken from the site to land in the canvas. The historical site where 300 evacuating civilians were killed by American soldiers who were warding off invasion by North Korean People’s Army during the Korean War, is hanging down like a black curtain.
The scene selected from a great number of possibilities, the obscure photograph, speaks of the important historical event covered in hazy fog without any measures being taken. Certainly, plain fact is captured in the scene, but by not opening it up and by showing something that cannot be seen, the artist leaves the dark black curtain up to the audience to lift by themselves.
Lee Seahyun’s scarlet landscapes have a very strong visual impact, almost as if inducing hallucinations. The works are unnatural and unrealistic. However, push through the dreamy fantasy, take a closer look at them, and you’ll encounter rather familiar and very real landscapes. Nature that surrounds us, buildings, towns and events have fully occupied the paintings. His works are realistic and beautiful, yet somewhat sorrowful. This is because a single painting contains the four phases of life and all sorts of emotions humans and nature have. He reveals the violent perspective inherent in humans without any moderations, bluntly shows the wounds of history inscribed in nature, and displays a new way of reasoning about the East and the West, humans and nature. His works embrace the wounds of both humans and nature.
Development of modern science and technology brought about exchanges between cultures and changes of perception. In particular, the use of media by humans has enabled the realization of a new form of art in which politics, culture, and technology is combined. Moreover, from the perspective of post-modernism, media is much more continuous and revolutionary than any Avant-garde. This century of technological revolution set off from videos has not only led to the reproduction of virtual reality and highly advanced digital technologies but also virtual sculpting today. New digital media has enabled people around the world to move freely across time and space of the past, present and the future. It has brought about changes in visual perception and paradigm.
Media, which reenacts hybridization with the inflow of various cultural elements due to the development of capitalism and globalization, was made through interactions between various factors such as culture, history, social phenomenon, characteristics of media and messages. Hybridizing media created a new ideology through carriers of media such as race, language, sign, image, and culture. Lee Leenam seeks to examine how the media is dealing with hybridizing earth, or today’s reality which is represented by hybridizing earth. Put on the VR and you will find yourself in a virtual space filled with Chinese characters in 3D. This is visualization of human cognitive system influenced by the mixture of various media such as letters and films. The way the images of Chinese characters, which have a long-standing history as ‘letters’, disappear as a data, a pixel in a digital space call into question the essence and value of a subject.
Li Ming has been continuing studies that pierce the core of the relationship between individuals and society through performance and video works. The artist himself is featured in the three works presented in this exhibition, and his body becomes a good practical parameter that represents the artist’s thoughts. In the video work with limited time, the artist endlessly continues repetitive movements using his body, and this continues until he is completely burnt out physically and psychologically. His ‘obsession’ implied in his works are very appealing. <361>(2014-2016) is a film about breaking 361 disposable lighters. For this performance, Li Ming thoroughly studied literature on disposable lighters and documentary film production. The artist has been carrying out studies on self-reflection, on how an entire community works even in the absence of certain personal goals and the dismay caused by social identity. <movement>(2014) is composed of a total of 8 televisions and 2 synchronizers. Four televisions are connected to one synchronizer, and eight videos are played at the same time. <nature>(2011) arranges four television screens in the shape of a cross. The screen on the left and on the right shows the artist’s thoughts on nature’s power and artificial power. The work enables the viewers to understand the artist’s philosophy and ideology.
Laura Lima put forth a body of work that she herself calls ‘images’. Lima’s ‘images’ are not performance, not installation, not cinema. The ‘images’ the artist uses are conceptualized works of an accumulation of visual clarity and factual firmness. Among the works that symbolize such rigorously conceptual projects, <man=flesh /woman="flesh" (homem="carne/Mulher=carne)"> is the most well-known. Parts of Laura Lima’s works are related to the notion of ornamental philosophy. Lima directly opposes the conventional view of thinking that ‘ornaments are not important’. She twists and overturns definitions and notions that are considered to be general and conventional.
This is the first time for her work <ascenseur>(2013, 2016) presented in Busan Biennale2016 to be shown in Asia. Standing in front of this work, we are confronted with an arm reaching out from underneath a wall, groping for a set of keys. The artist thought that while we easily think of this arm as being impertinent to us, thinking that it must belong to someone else, that arm actually could be ours. In this sense, the work touches upon the most basic forms of presence and interaction.
Through his works, Liu Xinyi displays his deep interest in international culture clashes and solutions for them. His <the centre of the world>(2011) submitted to the exhibition starts from a question on why many countries of both East and West publish world maps placing their countries at the center, and moves on to pose a question of ‘where is the center of the world?’ By projecting the rotating world as the hips of a human body, Liu Xinyi made the exit of human excretion become the center of the world to express humorously that an absolute center of the world does not exist. In another work <treasure island>(2012) in which images of financial centers at night were collected and edited to form a single island, flashy but hollow mirage of a marine city appear before our eyes. Such dreamlike landscape represents the Chinese society which has become a disaster area of the bubble economy as it vigorously pushed forward with deformed and unnecessary development.
Dana Lixenberg’s <imperial courts>(1993-2015) project combines video work and an extensive series of black and white photographs to track how a small community in south-central Los Angeles changes. The photographs and video are creations that resulted from a broad and cooperative relationship she formed with the residents of Imperial Courts, the place she became familiar with while travelling around Los Angeles in the wake of the Rodney King riots in April, 1992. For more than 22 years from 1993 to spring of 2015, Lixenberg created an extensive portrait of the community, and turned her eyes away from the site of destruction to the typical lives of the people who become the center of attention only in the event of a calamity. Works created in Imperial Courts include 393 black and white photographs, a book published by Roma Publications in 2015, and also a 63 minutes long 3 channel video projection that runs on a loop. Life in Imperial Courts captured in Lixenberg’s film forms a wide spectrum, ranging from high drama and play to meaningless daily lives. It contains scenes of ordinary daily lives in urban cities in the USA which were oftentimes mocked as aberrant and extreme. Imperial Courts set against the unchanging background of an urban landscape creates continuity of a community, opposes sensationalism and spectacles, and choses sensitivity above all. Made with such an approach, <imperial courts>(1993-2015) recorded the lives of African-Americans and Latin Americans in various ways for 22 years.
Artist Xavier Lucchesi made attempts at expressing images without using a camera. In order to do so, Lucchesi used equipment other than cameras that can create totally different images. He used x-ray equipment and scanners to produce images. His images do not follow the most common way of image creation, but are formed by making rays pass through objects. X-ray beams directed at the surface of the area behind an object remove the shadow of the real object. This is the shadow, the ‘illusion’ that we can see. A ray passing through an object does not merely mean a movement from the end of one side to the other. The fact that a ray passes through an object means the presence of the object is clearly known, and this is like an observer staring straight into the eyes of a person and seeing through his soul. When Lucchesi makes use of masterpieces such as Picasso’s paintings for his work, he tries not to reveal the hidden side of the work but only expresses visually dramatic scenes. Moreover, he focuses on the fact that there is a point of convergence where the brain’s power meets the brain’s ability to simulate and draw what has not been revealed or seen yet.
While many countries in Africa enacted homophobic legislations and expressed bigotry toward Western homosexuals, Republic of South Africa set itself apart from them by enacting a legislation that recognizes same-sex marriages. Still, LGBT African Americans (sexual minority including Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender, Intersexual) are suffering from hate crimes. Black lesbians who are particularly vulnerable among them oftentimes become the victim of cold-blooded murder or suffer ‘rape under the pretext of treatment’ by people around them or their so-called ‘friends’. In 2013, Muholi recorded events which seem to connect happiness and sorrow, a wedding ceremony and a funeral of people in black LGBT community in Republic of South Africa. The photograph installation of ZaneleMuholi shows how a sad event and a happy event can share similarities. This work emphasizes the need of space for an individual’s expression of identity.
The main topic of <herb>(2016) series is healing the ‘multifaceted conflict, fear and terror revealed in the hidden memories of human’. My works show the will to create motivated by hidden memories, and ‘bio codes’ that treat illness of the mind, grudge and resentment. This work contains in them the meaning of floral tribute to modern people by presenting flowers, herbs and texts. The series do not deliver fixed images and meanings through their reproduction of subjects or memories, but dismantle religious writings or texts of confessions inferred from the memories or from the subjects, and then reassemble them, combining them with images to create visualized texts not abstract texts. They become existences that await encounters with the audience at a point somewhere between ‘reading’ and ‘fascination’.
OLTA is a group formed in 2009 by 6 Japanese artists who majored Painting at Tama Art University. Our daily life is swarming with massive amounts of information such as videos transmitted by the media. OLTA compares such experiences with digital media to a waterfall in <walking cascade>(2016). From the journey to reach the waterfall, panoramic views before the eyes, the sound of cascades falling, temperature, humidity, to the surrounding environment, we embrace the waterfall using all of our senses. In this context, the ‘filmed’ video can only be secondary. Through its new work, OLTA tries to visualize the accumulation and transformation of information in three ways – using the body of the artists as the creator of the video, using the body of the information receiver, and using the media that document and record. In this exhibition, OLTA carries out a performance inspired by Rokusai Nenbusu Odori, which is a Japanese Buddhist traditional folk dance farmers in West Japan danced while chanting a Buddhist prayer. Their forms and tradition vary, but mostly groups of several people visit from door to door in the village, dance all night to the sound of drums, bells and pipes. In the performance by OLTA, the members dance to the sound of their own voices and instruments made by objects easily found in typical homes. The installation is complete by the combination of filming the performance, repeat and play, and the audience’s moves.
ORLAN uses her own body as the material and a visual support for her works. She uses her own body as an area for debate and exhibition. She is the progenitor of body art and a major figure in ‘carnal art’ defined in the 1989 Statement. ORLAN’s tenacity and freeness are essential parts of her works. She adheres to the attitude of innovating, questioning, and being destructive in all of her works. ORLAN destroys the ‘ready-made’ thought process and customs by ceaselessly implementing fundamental changes to data. She opposes the dominant kind such as social, political and natural determinism, male chauvinism, religion, cultural division, and racial discrimination. ORLAN not only describes the female body of the Baroque period and religious iconography, but also explores the culture of India and China before Columbus discovered the Americas. At the same time, she looks into their physical, emotional and virtual reality using the most modern science, biology, and computer technologies. In her recent series work <masks beijing opera, facing designs and augmented reality>(2014), ORLAN grafts the mask of Beijing opera to interactive technologies. Through the use of ‘Augment’, which is an application for augmented reality, she turns self-hybridization and all the sources into QR codes. ORLAN shows acrobatics by having her avatars appear on tablets and smartphones of the audience in Beijing Opera, which was forbidden to women. The audience can also take photographs with those 3D avatars.
Tanja Ostojic is a practical artist who conducts multifaceted studies and poses questions on issues the European society and the art world face by using various media such as performance, video, and photographs. <naked life>, which is one of her major projects, involves forming a strong bond with gypsies and prepares a venue for sharing and healing their deep sadness by exposing their colonial wounds to a platform where the local community and activists can engage in discussions. In particular, <naked life 6> which is submitted to the exhibition is a performance taking the form of a presentation to deal with issues such as gypsies’ life of poverty, social and political exclusion, deportation, racism, xenophobia and the like. Through this work, she poses an ethical question ‘how is it possible that a specific ethnic group is constantly exposed and deprived of human rights politically and socially in today’s modern European society?’
(2008) sets off from Pak Sheung Chuen’s 5 days 4 nights travel to Malaysia. He either closed or covered up his eyes for the entire journey. During the trip, he was still doing all the sightseeing and took many photos, but instead of seeing, he only used his body to sense and experience surroundings. All images, along with photography and videos from other members of the tour group, became the sole reference of indirect memories and visual experience for Malaysia. The photos must be showed in a completely darkened room. Viewers are required to bring their own flash cameras in order to capture images inside the room.
The yardstick by which an individual’s values are defined can be classified by social standards. In other words, conflicts arise when such values are accepted by external influences, or get frustrated. However, individuals’ desires are restrained at least to a certain extent as they are regulated by social standards. Thus, the forms of each individual desire may differ, but psychological anxiety caused by such social pressures is inherent in every relationship, and such anxiety connects one individual to the other in a complicated manner. This is expressed in the form of continuing violence in the modern society. I recognize such violence as a problem related to relationships and its interactivity, and tries to lay them out in the form of an artwork. Contemplation on relationships is closely related to not some gigantic existence but love, romantic relationship, jealousy, compassion, and those closest to an individual’s daily life. The closest relationship is a space dominated by much more customs, myths, and formalities than any other relationships. That space may seem like a venue created by an encounter between two individuals, but in fact it is a complicated venue in which numerous concepts and desires collide, exchange, and compromise, and a venue in which basic conflicts lay dormant. The artist captures unilateral obsession, desires hidden behind close relationships, and violence lying beneath the surface present in relationships by combining personal experiences and real life incidents with symbolic objects, stories or fairy tales. She produces an immensely realistic yet unrealistic video by creating aggressive situations in which not only affection and conflicts in relationships, but also the hidden ironies, conflicts and anxiety of forming relationships with societies intersect at a junction in which horizontal time and vertical time crosses each other.
Diminutive god statues became especially popular during a gambling craze in Taiwan in the 1980s. After failing to successfully divine a winning number, many of these were abused and abandoned at recycling centers, much like how dogs are sent to pounds when unable to fulfill their owners’ inflated and unrealistic expectations. Thus, in what seems a rather extraordinary instance of reversal, humankind took the liberty to punish the gods, seemingly without fear of retribution. Moreover, these gods were conveniently embodied in an easily manipulatable size. For the installation <god pound busan>(2016), 501 gods filled an entire space and they look at the screen that is framed by Taiwanese puppet stage set. In the video, a dog recounts the tale of the deities’ passing from idolized vessels to abandoned remains, reminding us of the parallel between the god pound and its canine counterpart. Somewhere between ubiquitous commodity fetish and sacred totem that knows no market value, the accumulation of these little beings conveyed both the tremendous power they were initially thought to possess as well as their present status as valueless cast-offs.
The artist uses medical models to perform various moves with the help of her friends. The moves which resemble a religious ceremony are performed on a stage like a fascinating magic show. This video is part of a long-term project made to answer a question on the concept of a nation-state Pushpamala N. posed. In the video, she looks into a government’s project aimed at creating an ideal community through the history of anthropology, ethnology and eugenics. In her work, she performs the moves by herself and carries out the role of a ‘result’ as well as an ‘agent’ of history who positions herself at the center of exploration.
Joanna Rajkowska’s video work <my father never touched me like that> is a description which focuses on the broken relationship between a father and his daughter. The artist asked her father to caress her face, but that was probably the first and the last request she made. Her father lived a life on the run ever since his first escape from being sent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp during World War 2 to the moment he left his family and his wife. He was never there to change the diapers of his little baby, attend her elementary school entrance ceremony, or even when she was hospitalized due to blood poisoning. He went so far as to ignore his own name his wife called on the path to her death. By removing a layer of memories lying under the surface of daily life in her work, the artist gently caresses wounds of the past that we all have.
The artistic events that Roman Signer constructs for us are based on process, play, experiment and wonder. His materials are elemental physical phenomena-observations all the more astonishing in view of the humor that informs this artist’s oeuvre. These elements show that amazing world of humor. It is an extremely subtle brand of humor yet to be discovered by the art world. The serenity, clarity, and lightness of Signer’s actions impress us. They are devoid of the tautological leadenness of certain art in the seventies that agonized righteously in an attempt to demonstrate that water flows and a chair is a chair. Signer’s gestures are not heroic, although, appearing as a dramaturge of suspense, he causes an explosive release, even a psychosensual detonation. He does not fill the expected role of the ingenious, individualist artist but he draws attention to an object by discovering and releasing its startling, unsuspected potential. We know about the possibilities of ordinary spray cans and rubber boots and bicycles and kitchen chairs, but we also learn how limited are both the horizon of our knowledge and our relationship to the things of this world.
The three performance works of Shinique Smith are mainly about gestures, objects and conceptual inspiration. Her works were influenced by astrology, alchemy, mythical lyric poetry and movements of urban intersections. Created in collaboration with artist Gary Pennock, <gesture iii: one great turning>(2015) was filmed using aerial and ground videography in front of Smith’s mural <seven moon junction>. Based on the artist’s personal history and events that influenced her life, the performance covers Smith’s paintings, large-scale installations and other performance works. It shows how she approaches the production of works and exhibition presentations well. She describes her childhood saying that ‘when she was a little girl, I learnt of the Sufi whirling dervishes, and in my innocence, I tried to dance like them. I would spin in the backyard in the hood in Baltimore until my mind was freed.’This experience of Smith served as the starting point of the project which expresses and expands the hypnotized movements of dancers in mural paintings. The dancers in the work wear costumes Smith made by drawing on parasols and large silk clothes. KAIROS Dance Company, which also had an idea similar to Smith’s, followed the spontaneity of her insight and contributed to the creation of this fascinating and dynamic collaborative work by adding some of the movements extracted from their existing work ‘Her’. Gary Pennock’s professional editing technologies and composition added perfection to the manifestation of Smith’s ideas in this work.
Sohn Junghee focuses on realizing the dreams hidden deeply within her through the use of clay. As Pablo Picasso once said ‘Everything you can imagine is real’, the imaginary world she expresses becomes real the moment she makes and bakes clay by hand. The theme of Sohn Junghee’s works came from her daily life. Reading fairy tales like the Snow White to little children, distorting and satirizing happy endings have become the concept of her works, and as time passed by, she looked for various sources for her works from across all the ages and countries. Such stories were transformed through the interruption of the artist’s imagination, and they work as an allegory of distortion or satire and criticism in social phenomena. The common sentiments that lie in all of Sohn Junghee’s works are sympathy, humor, longing (resentment), and soaring. Deep love and affection for humans are conveyed in her works.
Looking at the dead bodies of children washed to the shore, I feel in my bones that we are living in a free but not an entirely free world. Those that can freely move across territorial barriers are non-living things. Such barriers exist like invisible ghosts between territories, territory and life, and lives. They separate us endlessly and disable us in confronting the real hostilities. This separation is not the same as Apartheid, the notorious racial segregation of Republic of South Africa in the past. <already peacefully existing here as always>(2016) visualizes the fundamental principles of iron bars installed on the walls that enabled separation with unknown neighbors and protection of private property rights. By doing so, it enables the confrontation with ghostly Apartheid. A video of a man escaping from a disaster through a window and a tree hanging in the air with its roots burnt up, a photograph that reveals the hidden weight of the scales of a balance enable the coexistence of hostilities and create works of organizing a new life in the current situation in which the residues of such coexistence are maintained.
Studio CONTEXT began in Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark, and it exhibits the results of a combination of the devotion and technologies put in by students, architects and citizens from various countries around the world. Studio CONTEXT studies sustainable architecture and housing which reflect geographical, historical, anthropological and social phenomena. It also explores designs in which diverse cultural elements are mixed together. In Busan Biennale 2016 Studio CONTEXT displays <cocoon ii> project(2015), which is a work made with a quite unique material, bamboo trees. Bamboo trees were not only used to make interior materials and household items for centuries in Asian countries, but are also useful eco-friendly building materials in the field of architecture & design. Following the first experimental project <cocoon i> made of bamboo trees and stones, <cocoon ii>(2015) drew out the concept of pan-cultural collaboration through its educational approach and experiments on function, material and construction. All the works have been carefully considered to suit the materials and climate of relevant regions, and their experimental nature was maintained while being shaped through close collaboration with local residents. The Cocoon Project is still an ongoing project which explores space, architecture, material and the world of bamboo trees.
"Point of Contact #2", simply but, is an open, exaggerated switch. It is a device that is designed only to deliver the power from the electricity to light the lamp. The contact point creates a pale spark, incandescent lamps in conjunction with it blink, and it becomes physical proof that there is electrical "contact". The incandescent lamps are only working for the contact that sparks, and the contact that sparks is only to turn on the incandescent lamps. The point of the work is this extremely immediate physical existence, which just goes around and around. Tamura Satoru shows us how to face up to the reality in a conscious or perhaps unconscious manner.
Not everything in the society we live in exists to become something. It is only us, humans, who try hard to find reason to everything and crave them. Humans living in a capitalist society indiscriminately destroy nature in the name of development and growth, shut each other out and create conflicts based on a blind faith that does not recognize differences in race, religion, and society. These are all variations of human desires. The artist does not establish a goal or try to argue something when making a work of art. Nevertheless, his work enables us to reset the lenses through which we view the reality and society as well as reflect on ways of life that exist beyond worldly suffering.
Nobuko Tsuchiya stimulates the emotions of people, strives to create something that can arouse awareness on an individual’s own world, and tries to clearly recognize the relationship between memories and imaginations. Her works are accumulations of decisions made by using a variety of thoughts and linguistic, musical, logical, functional, sensual, and empirical things or even something that cannot be defined. Through this work, the artist tries to compress the components of her works to the highest extent possible so that they reach a certain point between equilibrium and disequilibrium.
I climb up a wide and huge house. Right there, a grey wolf with a face of a man makes his way forward and eats people up one after another. It sucks their blood.
The roof becomes visible as I climb up the huge house, and in front I see a huge ship made of wood. As I look, the ship starts shaking back and forth like a pirate ship in an amusement park. Shuuuk, shuuuk.
Before I know it, I am sitting at the right end of the ship looking down. I climb down from the huge house and start walking along the street.
Then, I get up.
Yu Sunghoon consider using a space built as a warehouse in Busan for the main exhibition hall for Busan Biennale 2016 quite meaningful in the geological history of Busan as it was transformed into an urban space today due to its special historical backgroud. For 5 months the process of the change at certain place had been recorded for <the exhibition of the space>(2016), he believes that it will raise a lot of interest in this region and human affairs. Through his another work <the empty site>(2016), he intends to make the association between the memories of his hometown and exhibition space.
When a small fingerprint meets a smartphone, everything unfolds before the eyes. They are worlds visible through the eyes and visible in the mind. All kinds of floating words and texts trapped in a small frame have universal power in them but they get easily permeated, tainted and fade away. Just as yellow dust covers the world with dust, the world is full of texts and images. While we pay attention to the light, sound, taste and touch from the outside, our daily lives are shattered into pieces and blinks like a broken lamp. At some point, manual labor which requires movement of the body as well as time and effort is losing its precious value. Labor today is something that has become very exhausting, delayed in the interference of a terminal, and is finally left unfinished. The body becomes a heavy weight in the awakening of the mind, and the spirit becomes noise in inertia of the body. Nevertheless, the artist argues that the power that actually moves and restores the world comes from manual labor. Yun Pilnam aspires to state that we should seek the flow of daily lives that does not pool from manual labor which never stops moving.
Katarina Zdjelar's video <everything is gonna be>(2008) alludes to the Beatles song ‘Revolution’, which the artist transfers to the Lofoten Islands in Norway, where it is sung by an amateur choir. Their lullaby-like way of singing the chorus forces the song to take a disturbingly uncritical tone. The work reveals both the critical distance to upheaval in the lyrics, which John Lennon wrote in 1968, and the ideological distance between the meaning of the song and the middle-aged people that appear in the work. Zdjelar’s interest with this work also lies in the process of physically manifesting uncertainties, in the attempts to perfect one’s performance as well as in the production of a collective out of singular voices. With a focus largely on the intimate presence of the individuals, the work is charged with an ambiguous sense of hesitation – a reserve that may suggest inability to let go and express oneself, or unwillingness to be either individual in all its imperfection or to merge into the communal voice and feeling. The singers-speakers give a sense of distance and coldness towards the song they sing, and even though they perform it, what they bring across seems more ominous than hopeful.
Zeng Hao captures an individual’s state of mind, personal impression and ambient changes he felt in the canvas. Common items such as bed, closet, pot, and images of shy characters can be found in his paintings. In particular, <04:06am of May. 9th, 1998>(1998) is one of the series of his major works, and it enables the viewers to imagine stories behind the work through the arrangement of various props such as characters, family, and electricity in a seemingly irrelevant combination. The pictures of families or spaces drawn by Zeng Hao connote the feeling of ambiguous isolation that is difficult to guess, and although they look perfect, they evoke the feeling of bleakness as they are drawn in perspective. It seems the artist is using his work as a metaphor for the vulnerable nature of relationships and demarcated realities of today’s modern society.
Zhou Wendou uses conceptual style of creation and humorous language of art to express a perspective that is somewhat different from other contemporary Chinese works. <adhd>(2015) is a circular installation work which is larger than 2 meters in diameter. Ink constantly gushes out from the top, and more than 20 ‘windscreen wipers’ installed on the surface make repeated movements to remove the gushing ink. Through such mechanical movements, the artist alludes to the non-automatically controlled characteristics of the modern people that we can easily find in our daily life, excessively repetitive movements and habits. Furthermore, the work is a figurative expression of the internet age in which data is produced endlessly and mechanically, and the state of gradually becoming dull due to attention deficit disorder.