This September marks the opening of the 8th Gwangju Biennale. With the title ‘10,000 Lives’, the biennale features works created between 1901 and 2010 by 134 artists from 30 countries. The exhibition shares its title with Maninbo (Ten Thousand Lives), an epic 30-volume poem conceived by the Korean author Ko Un as a means of maintaining his sanity during the two years he spent in solitary confinement for participating in the 1980 South Korean Democracy Movement. Recently completed after nearly 30 years, Maninbo is an epic record of over 4,000 poetic portrayals of every person – real, historical, and literary – that Ko has ever met.
Likewise, ‘10,000 Lives’, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, explores humanity’s fundamental need for images and image-making. As Gioni explains, the staggering number hints at the “explosion of images that is taking place in our societies,” while the reference to Maninbo references the “power of images to act as sites of remembrance and memorials.” Intermixed with contemporary artworks are historical photographs and found images, a combination that blurs the line between high art and the everyday. With works from a 100-year period arranged in non-chronological order, the biennale is a journey through the history of images, and the stories that they evoke.
- Fri, 1 Oct 2010