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Facing Climate Issues: The 5th Gwangju Folly and the 14th Gwangju Biennale

etc. Apr 05, 2023

SPACE April 2023 (No. 665)​ 


The downtown area of Gwangju is preparing to be taken over by art. The 5th Gwangju Folly is scheduled to be unveiled at the end of the year, while the 14th Gwangju Biennale will be on show from Apr. 7 to July 9 this year. Gwangju Folly began as part of the Gwangju Biennale but became an independent project from 2013. Pai Hyungmin (professor, University of Seoul), the director of the 5th Gwangju Folly, named the project Circulation Folly. He plans to use environmentally friendly materials for the Gwangju Folly with the aim of responding to climate crisis and collaborating with regional communities in various ways during the production process. Along with this, it also contains the will to respond to the climate crisis. Toyo Ito, Assemble Studio, Atelier Luma, and BC Architects were recently announced as the participating artists. These artists will aid interpretation of the keywords behind ‘circulation folly’, such as circulation and climate, and speculate possible directions. Assemble Studio considers the cooperation of members at every stage to be vital and has presented projects that reflect the history and characteristics of the region. Atelier Luma is a design and research lab and has been researching ways of recycling the waste and by-products of agriculture and fisheries. At this Gwangju Folly, Gwangju Folly dulle-gil Road Development Business is also going to be developed. The purpose behind this business is not to simply to build a physical road connecting the follies, but to further promote Gwangju Folly by operating various programmes through the space provided by the follies. The 30 original follies installed downtown in Gwangju will be connected. This will also be led by Pai Hyungmin. BARE (co-principals, Jeon Jinhong, Choi Yunhee), a research-based architecture office researching the mutual relations of architecture and environment, and while Cho Namho (principal, Soltozibin Architects), who grafts wooden structures onto traditional Korean spatial forms, will be the participating artist. Meanwhile, Lee Sookkyung is the art director of this year’s Gwangju Biennale, and the title is Soft and Weak Like Water. In this title, water is used as a metaphor for the potential of transition and restoration. The theme shared between the 5th Gwangju Folly and the 14th Gwangju Biennale is that of climate emergency. This is a hot topic in our present era, which has various levels of complexity, such as capitalism as one of the reasons behind climate decline and eco-friendliness or activism as one of the solutions. One can identify at a glance how artists and architects are interpreting, solving, and implementing new answers to these climate challenges in Gwangju. by Park Jiyoun 




Director of the 5th Gwangju Folly, Pai Hyungmin​ / Image courtesy of Gwangju Biennale Foundation


Art dirctor of the 14th Gwangju Biennale, Lee Sookkyung​ / Image courtesy of Gwangju Biennale Foundation