The decision to postpone the Biennale was taken to expand the event’s run duration, according to the Biennale’s organisers.
The Gwangju Biennale’s 14th edition, initially scheduled for 2022, has been postponed by a full calendar year.
While the postponement coincides with a new wave of concern about global travel caused by the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the show’s organizers stressed a more positive motive in today’s announcement: the move is intended to move the art event to a new spot on the calendar, thereby extending its duration.
The Gwangju Biennale, one of the world’s most popular art events, has usually lasted 66 days, beginning on the first Friday of September in even-numbered years.
The next version will now last 94 days and will begin earlier in the year. The rescheduled event will be held from April 7 to July 9, 2023.
“In the past, a number of individuals were dissatisfied that they were unable to attend the Biennale due to its short duration,” Yang-woo Park, president of the Gwangju Biennale Foundation, said in a statement.
“As the longest Gwangju Biennale ever held, we hope that the 14th Gwangju Biennale will also contribute to the broad spread of culture and art,” says the organizers.
Due to the Covid-19 dilemma, the prior edition was moved back from September 2020 to the spring of this year. Only a few of the participating artists were able to attend this year’s edition due to low visitor numbers.
Following the event this spring, the Foundation stated that its four-year-old president, Sun Jung Kim, would not be renewed.
The announcement came amid claims by the biennial’s labour union that Kim had verbally mistreated and unfairly fired staff, allegations that were probed by Gwangju’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, as well as the South Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor.
Kim resigned from her position in June. She responded quickly, calling the accusations “unfounded claims and factual distortions” and implying that her detractors were reacting to the “long overdue systematic improvements” she achieved during her term.
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