Busan Biennale Names 2018 Directors
By HG Masters
On February 9, the Busan Biennale Organizing Committee named curator Cristina Ricupero and writer and editor Jörg Heiser as co-artistic directors of the ninth edition of the festival. The announcement comes seven months before the scheduled opening of the Biennale on September 8 in South Korea’s second-largest city.
Cristina Ricupero is a Paris-based independent curator, known for exhibitions such as the large group exhibition “The Crime was Almost Perfect” at Witte de With in Rotterdam (2014), which traveled to PAC-Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea in Milan, and for “Secret Societies,” for the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfort (2011), which then toured to the CAPC de Bordeaux (2011–12). Her engagements with Korea date back more than a decade, having commissioned a section of the Gwangju Biennale in 2006, serving as jury member for the 2012 Hermes Foundation Missulsang, and a curatorial adviser for SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul in 2016. Ricupero had presented a lecture titled “Contemporary Art and Its Social Practices” during the 2011 Busan Biennale.
A contributor to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung since 1997, and an editor at Frieze magazine since 1998—as well as a guitarist in the band La Stampa—Jörg Heiser is the director of the Institute for Art in Context at the University of the Arts in Berlin. Ricupero and Heiser have worked together on previous projects, including the "Nuit Blanche" public art festival in Monaco, in 2016.
So far, no details about the title or theme of the exhibition, nor the names of any participating artist, have been released. However, the announcement said that the curators’ exhibition plan “rais[ed] hopes for an artistic discussion of Korea’s situation and Busan’s regionality while using contemporary art to pinpoint the core of the psychological issues precipitated by conflict and antagonism, which are currently emerging as a worldwide issue.” The 2018 Busan Biennale will be on view until November 11.