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14th Gwangju Biennale , soft and weak like water
Group Exhibition Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall, Gwangju, South Korea
Date: 04.07, 2023 - 07.09, 2023

Artists: Robert ZHAO Renhui 赵仁辉 | 

The 14th Gwangju Biennale, soft and weak like water, takes its inspiration from a chapter of Dao De Jing, a fundamental Daoist text, which speaks of water’s capacity to embrace contradictions and paradoxes. The Biennale proposes to imagine our shared planet as a site of resistance, coexistence, solidarity, and care, by thinking through the transformative and restorative potential of water as a metaphor, a force, and a method. It invites artists to engage with an alternative model of power that brings forth change, not with an immediate effect but with an endurance and pervasive gentleness that flows across structural divisions and differences.

Led by Sook-Kyung Lee, the Biennale will bring together around 80 artists from different corners of the globe and explore its theme through four subtopics: Luminous Halo positions the spirit of Gwangju as a source of inspiration and model for resistance and solidarity; Ancestral Voices highlights transnational artistic approaches for engaging and interpreting traditions to question and challenge modernist ideas; Transient Sovereignty considers the ways in which post-colonial and de-colonial artistic thinking have developed in relation to issues such as migration and diaspora; and Planetary Times explore the limits and potentials of a ‘planetary vision’ on ecological and environmental justice.

Aspiring to understand seemingly disparate yet equally urgent global issues as one entanglement that affects the whole planet and its inhabitants, soft and weak like water gives prominence to voices that speak about systems and practices of knowledge as alternatives to the ones governed by modernist thinking. Ranging from traditional healing, community-based and collective creation to reinterpretation of indigenous crafts, the Biennale presents discourses and practices that highlight ways of existing together, which help locate solidarity in both our affinities and our singularities.

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