The second Gwangju Biennale was developed to overcome National Borders and the prejudice of center-periphery, under the leadership of Artistic Director Young-chul Lee. 117 artists from 39 countries participated.
While the visual concept of negative space often manifests itself in a limited manner in Western art, it is almost omnipresent in the East, and is most easily defined as the space that is left around the characters and images in a composition. Despite the connotations of the word "negative" it also holds the implication of possibility, new creation, and new creativity. In a broader sense, it can represent resistance against encroaching modern society and the destruction of the primeval. The theme of "Unmapping the Earth" was drawn from the Korean concept "Yeobaik", which literally means "empty space" - a fundamental motif of Korean art.
The main exhibition was designed to discuss the importance of the flow of the natural in its relationship to negative space to create a dialogue on a harmonious coexistence between the built and the pristine.
It was composed of five parts by thematic curators:
Speed / Water: Harald Szeemann
Space / Fire: Kyong Park
Hybrid / Wood: Richard Koshalek
Power / Metal: Wan-kjung Sung
Becoming / Earth: Bernard Marcadé
2nd Gwangju Biennale
Unmapping the Earth
1 September - 27 November 1997