The Busan Biennale is back and spread across four venues across the city

The exterior of Busan Port’s Pier 1 warehouse, which was opened to the public for the very first time [BUSAN BIENNALE]

One of Busan’s major art events, the Busan Biennale, is back to take over the southeastern port city and make a new contribution to its history.

The 2022 Busan Biennale, under the title “We, On The Rising Wave”, kicked off last week at four venues: the Busan Museum of Contemporary Art, Busan Port Pier 1, a factory on the small island from Yeongdo and a house in Choryang-dong in the Dong district.

Busan Port Pier 1, which is a warehouse, was opened to the public for the very first time.

″Chain Link Strategy″ (2022) and ″Void Extruction (Submarine)″ (2021) by Hyun Nahm, which are located in Pier 1 of Busan Port [BUSAN BIENNALE]

″Chain Link Strategy″ (2022) and ″Void Extruction (Submarine)″ (2021) by Hyun Nahm, which are located in Pier 1 of Busan Port [BUSAN BIENNALE]

“I immediately thought of the word ‘waves’ when organizing this edition of the biennale,” artistic director Kim Hae-ju said during a press/VIP preview on Friday. “It’s not just because Busan is a port city overlooking the sea, but because every time I drive on the roads of Busan and see the view of the ocean appear after driving through the hills, it reminds me of the waves. I feel like Busan has come to life with those crashing waves because it’s a mountain city.

The sub-themes the biennale aims to focus on are issues around migration, labor and women, urban ecosystems, and technology and locality. Kim said these topics are directly related to Busan society and history.

For example, labor and women should be treated as one and the same issue, as it is important to recognize that narratives related to Busan have always been male-centric as it is a port city.

Busan Museum of Contemporary Art [BUSAN BIENNALE]

Busan Museum of Contemporary Art [BUSAN BIENNALE]

The place Yeongdo, which is an abandoned factory on the small island. [BUSAN BIENNALE]

The place Yeongdo, which is an abandoned factory on the small island. [BUSAN BIENNALE]

“Be on the rising wave [referring to the biennale’s title this year] can mean a situation in which a person is faced with a [metaphorical] crash,” Kim said. “When you encounter waves, you can move forward with it or not. I also wanted to ask the question of who is riding those waves, which eventually became our theme.

A total of 239 works of art from 64 artist teams are scattered throughout the city. They are not necessarily divided according to subtopics, but rather mixed because some encompass many topics.

Paintings, small installations and video works are mainly exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and larger and more exotic installation pieces are installed at the Port and Yeongdo. In the small shed-like house in Choryang, a few paintings and videos are displayed on smartphones.

“Landscape with Many Holes: Skins of Yeongdo Sea” (2022) by Mire Lee, which is made from scaffolding, waste oil and fencing materials. It is exhibited at the Yeongdo site. [BUSAN BIENNALE]

Each place has its own meaning as they symbolize different facets of Busan. Choryang-dong, for example, is densely populated with small houses nestled on the hillside and shows the life of small-town people, as opposed to city life.

The 2022 Busan Biennale runs until November 6. Tickets cost 12,000 won ($8.70) for adults and allow entry to the museum and port sites. The exhibitions on Yeongdo and Choryang are free. For more information, visit the biennial website.

BY SHIN MIN-HEE [shin.minhee@joongang.co.kr]

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