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Co-artistic directors selected for South Korea’s Busan Biennale 2024

Co-artistic directors selected for South Korea’s Busan Biennale 2024
June 28, 2023

Busan Metropolitan City and the Busan Biennale Organizing Committee have announced the selection of Philippe Pirotte and Vera Mey as co-artistic directors of Busan Biennale 2024.

Following their submission of a proposal that aligned with the direction and core values of Busan Biennale 2024, after a month-long international open call beginning in February, the two underwent a selection committee review and other procedures before being officially approved in May as artistic directors.

The proposal submitted by the two co-artistic directors aligns with the committee’s efforts to expand representation of the Biennale’s core values of spontaneity, youth, and experimentation, and to achieve and amplify exhibition values rooted in regional character. The proposed concept adopts specific cultural and spiritual ways of living in the world as an exhibition motif, while also amply reflecting the defining characteristics of Busan. Additionally, it considers the use of everyday spaces in the city and different forms of partnership with local alternative spaces, social activists, culture and art groups, and institutions.

Duo prolifically active in Europe and Asia
Pirotte and Mey, are exhibition programmers who are prolifically active in Europe and Asia.

Hailing from Belgium, Pirotte is an art history professor at the Städelschule school of art in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, who also works as an associate curator with the Gropius-Bau in Berlin and as adjunct senior curator at the University of California Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley. He has been involved in various activities in both the East and West, serving as curator of the 2016 Biennale de Montréal in Canada and co-curator of Jakarta Biennale 2017 in Indonesia, as well as planning exhibitions for key institutions in Singapore. He has also taken part in numerous exchange activities in Korea and was a curatorial advisor for Busan Biennale in 2022.

Mey is completing a doctoral program in the History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS University of London in the UK, while working as a curator both independently and for Te Tuhi, a municipal public gallery in Auckland, New Zealand. Between 2014 and 2016, she was a curator at the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore and has also worked independently curating exhibitions in Phnom Penh, Paris, and Bangkok. In 2017, she was part of the curatorial team for SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now, which was held at Mori Art Museum and National Art Center Tokyo coinciding with the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN.

With the artistic directors selected, the committee will now proceed with full-scale exhibition preparations for Busan Biennale 2024. The two curators are set to further develop the themes and the direction of their exhibition planning as they visit Busan to complete their curatorial team, see the exhibition settings and various other locations of the city and to conduct research on the region.

The previous edition of the Busan Biennale in 2022 garnered rave reviews in Korea and overseas, becoming the first nationwide to receive a first-class rating by government evaluation, and being named one of the world’s top 10 exhibitions by UK contemporary art magazine Frieze.

The Busan Biennale Organizing Committee was first established in 1999 as Busan International Art Festival Organizing Committee and changed its name in 2001 as 'Busan Biennale'. Through staging Busan Biennale every even-numbered year and the Sea Art Festival every odd-numbered year, the organizing committee presents resonating site-specific artworks that are inspired by the identity and local characteristics of the city, striving to promote Korean art and culture to the global audience while introducing the canons of international art to local audiences.

Inaugurated in 1981 as Busan Youth Biennale formed by young Korean artists, Busan Biennale has become a leading art biennale in Korea and beyond.

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