The 2020 edition of Busan Biennale, which garnered positive reviews for interweaving visual art with literary elements, heads to Chicago for a year-long project with artists, musicians and writers.

Organized by Danish artistic director Jacob Fabricius, the 10th edition of Busan Biennale was titled "Words at an Exhibition ― an exhibition in ten chapters and five poems." Fabricus invited 11 authors, 67 visual artists and 11 musicians from 34 countries to unravel the port city's charms in the context of metropolitanism.

The Busan Biennale is a biannual international contemporary art show that integrated three different art events held in the city in 1998: the Busan Youth Biennale, the first biennale of Korea that was voluntarily organized by local artists in 1981; the Sea Art Festival, an environmental art festival launched in 1987 with the sea serving as a backdrop; and the Busan International Outdoor Sculpture Symposium that was first held in 1991. The biennale was previously called the Pusan International Contemporary Art Festival (PICAF) before it launched.

Busan Biennale has partnered with the University of Chicago's Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry and the Center for East Asian Studies Committee on Korean Studies to present "The Chicago Chapter" of the biennale.

Fabricius and Chicago-based curator and art critic Stephanie Cristello, who served as curatorial adviser at the Busan Biennale 2020, bring artists and art from the Busan event to reimagine the biennale for Chicago audiences with an emphasis on sound art and music.

The Chicago Chapter will begin with an online public conversation event on March 5, featuring Fabricius and Cristello as well as artist-musician Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and Korean artist Kim Hee-cheon. Gordon presented the film installation "July 24, 2020," created in collaboration with the exhibition team in Busan, while Kim interpreted the city's history and urban issues in his site-specific works such as an outdoor banner titled "A Drill" in Busan's Old Town.

This is the Busan Biennale 2020's second collaborative project, following "An Exhibition in Three Chapters: Works from the Busan Biennale by Carey Young, Kim Gordon & Jang Minseung" at the Kunsthal Aarhus in Denmark, home of artistic director Fabricius.

At the Danish exhibition, three video works by Carey Young, Kim Gordon and Jang Min-seung representing the biennale's topics such as gender, historical trauma and urban spaces are on display through March 14.

The Busan Biennale is the only one like it in the world that was established through an integration of three types of art events such as a Contemporary Art Exhibition, Sculpture Symposium, and Sea Art Festival. The Sculpture Symposium in particular was deemed to be a successful public art event, the results of which were installed throughout the city and dedicated to revitalizing cultural communication with citizens.

The networks formed through the event have assumed a crucial role in introducing and expanding domestic art overseas and leading the development of local culture for globalized cultural communication. Founded 38 years ago, the biennale aims to popularize contemporary art and achieve art in everyday life by providing a platform for interchanging experimental contemporary art.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers behind the 2020 edition of the Busan Biennale have partnered with the University of Chicago’s Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, the Center for East Asian Studies Committee on Korean Studies, and Empty Bottle Presents to stage the Words at an Exhibition《열 장의 이야기와 다섯 편의 시》 The Chicago Chapter. The Busan Biennale 2020 was originally conceived and presented in South Korea (Busan Biennale 2020), Artistic Director Jacob Fabricius. Together with Curator Stephanie Cristello (Curatorial Advisor at the Busan Biennale 2020), they are reimagining Words at an Exhibition 《열 장의 이야기와 다섯 편의 시》an exhibition in ten chapters and five poems for a Chicago audience as The Chicago Chapter. Unfolding over the course of 2021, this endeavor will consist of a series of events and exchanges among artists, musicians, and writers with a particular attention to sound art and music.

For more information and to register for the upcoming March 5th event, click here.

For original article in The Korea Times, click here.

Article contains excerpts taken from The Korea Times and Busan Biennale Website