Together with Montaigne’s Cat: Gyeonggi Ceramics Biennale 2024


21 May 2024

In 2024, South Korea’s international ceramics biennale will reflect how ceramics bridges race, culture and history.

The Korea Ceramic Foundation officially unveiled the detailed theme of the Gyeonggi Ceramics Biennale 2024 (GCB 2024), “TOGETHER_Montaigne’s Cat,” along with the introduction of the Event Identity Program (EIP), which includes the poster and logo.

Inspired by the book Together: The Ritual, Pleasure, And Politics of Cooperation by American sociologist Richard Sennett, the theme “TOGETHER” delves into how humans, as Homo Faber (tool-making beings), shape their lives through personal efforts (skills), social relationships (cooperation), and physical environments (urban settings).

In line with Sennett’s ideas, this year’s biennale explores the concept of togetherness using ceramics, a medium that has historically bridged diverse races, cultures, and histories. By examining the importance of collective unity, the event seeks to rediscover the ‘lost skills of collaboration’ amidst the social conflicts and uncertainties of modern society. The subtitle, “Montaigne’s Cat,” refers to a question posed by the sixteenth-century French philosopher Michel De Montaigne in his “Essais,” prompting reflection on recognizing differences between oneself and others and fostering deeper cooperation.

Misun Rheem, the artistic director of GCB 2024, highlighted that prevalent ideological, ethnic, religious, political, and economic conflicts, along with contemporary issues like digital alienation, loneliness, and indifference, transcend generations. This underscores the necessity to explore how the wisdom and artistic imagination of ceramics and art can mend and revive the “lost skills of cooperation” for coexistence in today’s society.

The biennale aims to showcase various artistic works addressing social issues such as environmental conservation, animal welfare, and the climate crisis (“With the World”), supporting marginalized groups like people with disabilities, sexual minorities, and immigrants (“With Others”), and delving into the diverse world of self-existence amidst the challenges of the digital age (“With Myself”).

Additionally, the EIP, including the poster, was revealed on the same day. The poster, featuring a metaphorical depiction of “togetherness” through the symbolic imagery of a cat, underscores the amalgamation of various elements like nature, technology, and community within ceramic art. The typography, comprising various sculptures, symbolizes the journey from “Alone” to “Together”.

The Gyeonggi Ceramics Biennale 2024 is scheduled to run from September 6 to October 20, spanning 45 days across various locations in Gyeonggi Province, including Icheon, Yeoju, and Gwangju.


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