Jiyoon Lee, Artistic Director
In art:gwangju:12, as in last year’s art:gwangju:11, all the participating galleries were invited to partake in the fair. Also, we prioritized extending invitations to newer galleries with three or more years of quality exhibition programming, as well as those more established galleries showing experimental and forward-looking works. This year, there are 83 domestic and international galleries from thirteen countries, showing more than 400 artists participating in the fair. This year in particular, art:gwangju:12 is debuting Middle Eastern and South East Asian galleries in Korea for the first time, expanding the list of participating galleries to include those beyond Europe and East Asia, and brining Korea to the larger art market in the Asian context.
In particular, we are introducing Running Horse from Beirut, Lebanon, for the first time in the Korea; Etemad Gallery from Dubai, Arab Emirates; Latitude 28 from New Delhi, India; and Hong Kong's Osage; these galleries are amongst the 30 international galleries that are presenting works by their regional artists to Korean collectors.
We also aim to provide new networking opportunities amongst international galleries, Seoul galleries, and regional galleries, including those from Daejun, Chungju, Junju, Changwon, and Masan. This is the result of our effort to bring together the regional and the global in a truly 'glocal' art market.
We are focusing on the presentation of varying media, presenting a large range that encompasses prints, video, photography, and other forms. Showing more than just established works, we focused on variety, including artworks that are more popular and accessible. Starting last year, we invited not-for-profit spaces to show works through our Museum Outlet programme, where we highlight their institutions and present their limited editions for fundraising. We have 13 domestic and international not-for-profits participating this year. It is important to invite spaces in Korea and in broader Asia to showcase the emerging artists that these spaces are discovering.
This year, with support from the Arts Council England, we have invited the International Curator's Forum (ICF) to present a diverse lecture programme alongside the 'glocal' art market that is art:gwangju. International art experts will discuss the emerging market in the Middle East and Asia, and the new tendencies in the display and collecting of video and new media.
In this way, art:gwangju is a place where the commercial and the public coexist; a place where commercial galleries occupy the same space as public art museums. Publicness and individuality mutually exist in a contradictory and dualistic manner, and this new structure can be represented in the title of our exhibition programme, 'Double Democracy.' In Double Democracy 2, the works of artists established in the art market and those from newly graduated artists come together in many different ways. For more established artists, we focused on selecting artists who have been less visible in the art market and in international exhibitions but have been working steadily over the years. For emerging artists, we focused on artworks by award-winning recent graduates of England's leading art schools who are very actively exhibiting their works. We look forward to the new energy formed in the display where the works of these artists come together.