2021 Cheongju Craft Biennale, The Craft for Conviviality to Overcome Global Pandemic Fatigue

Poster of 2021 Cheongju Craft Biennale © Cheongju Craft Biennale Organizing Committee

The Cheongju Craft Biennale, an international exhibition event representing Cheongju and the world’s first and largest event in the field of crafts, opened on September 8. This event is colored with the breath of crafts beyond the cultural production center and Cheongju-si area to the online world. The event began in 1999 and marks its twelfth anniversary this year. The theme of the 2021 Cheongju Craft Biennale is ‘Tools for Conviviality’, which was borrowed from Ivan Illich’s book Tools for Conviviality (1973). The author is an Austrian philosopher who criticized the era in which tools dominate humans and argued that tools should be given limits to growth in order to restore humanity. Cheongju Craft Biennale Organizing Committee (Chairman Han Beom-deok, Mayor of Cheongju City), said “I hope that crafts, a ‘tool for conviviality’, will deliver a message of hope, healing and restoration for mankind who has been fighting the pandemic for a longer time than expected.” The 2021 Cheongju Craft Biennale, where 309 artists from 32 countries present 1,192 works, will be available online and offline until October 17 (Sun).

■ Main Exhibition (Art Director Lim Mi-sun)

The main exhibition has a total of four themes, ▷Part 1. Labor: Archaeology of Objects ▷Part 2. Life: Aesthetics of Everyday Life ▷Part 3. Language: Distribution of Sensibility ▷Part 4. Archives: Reltooling, highlighting the sustainable future values and wide spectrum of contemporary crafts. Craft Banquet, Upcycling Craft, and Craft Exploration into the Sea in connection with this exhibition are also underway as craft culture projects.

■ Invited Country Exhibition: France

This exhibition presents the theme of ‘Objet – Tablo; France of Touch’, co-planned with Atelier d’Arts de France, France’s leading craftsmen’s association. Invited Country Day will also be held.

■ Cheongju International Craft Competition

The Cheongju International Craft Competition, which has produced more than 1,700 award-winning works from 47 countries since 1999, when the Biennale began, has become a prestigious competition that is paying attention to the world craft industry and a key event representing the historical and legitimacy of the Biennale. In the last competition in 2019, it has proved its status with the largest application rate that broke the existing application record.
This year’s award-winning work is ‘Horsehair-Comb Pattern’ by Jeju-born artist Dahye Jeong, who completed a modern aesthetic by using horsehair, a material for Korean traditional hats.

■ Art Museum project

Visitors can also meet the Art Museum Project, which seeks an open biennale beyond the genre based on the establishment of a network with local exhibition spaces. Seven institutions in Cheongju, including the Cheongju National Museum of Art, Cheongju National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Cheongju City Museum of Art, Shema Museum, Space Mom, Woomin Art Center, and Unbo Art Museum, will run linked exhibitions, educational programs during the biennale.

In addition, the Chungbuk Craft Workshop will be held to showcase the aesthetics of K-craft to global audiences based on local crafts. Moreover, there will be a Craft Camp with world-class artists and local craft prospects, and a Craft Market which will provide opportunities to purchase crafts. The 2021 Cheongju Craft Biennale, which presents a new definition of crafts in the post pandemic era, will be available at the cultural production center, various art museums throughout Cheongju-si area, and online (drone tour, VR exhibition, ASMR Vlog craft, etc.). www.okcj.org.