Kishore Singh goes to the Gwangju Biennial and comes back impressed:
It is then that the scope of the Gwangju Biennale strikes you. It is, in a sense, almost a history of portraiture, of the deliberate history — and this is interesting because of the intimacy it brings to the show — of the millions of anonymous people who have featured in these photographs, whose presence, or absence, matters to only a handful of people, but who have left their stamp (and image) behind almost as a heroic gesture. These are photographs that range from those of those dear to us (an entire section of 3,000 photographs, for the Teddy Bear Project, consists of pictures of people, or families, that include a teddy bear, and could take days of evocative viewing) to the condemned (such as the pictures shot in Cambodia’s Tuol Sleng Prison of prisoners ahead of their executions).
Labelled 10000 Lives, there is much that is thoughtful, a little that is amusing, and enough that is heart-rending, but mostly what the biennale brings about is a way of looking at the explosion of images that make up our lives. We segregate them on a daily basis, filing them appropriately in our memory, or in more physical space, letting others sieve through into oblivion. But each of those images tells us multiple stories, and it is these that you take away when, at last, you walk out. Images, for instance, of Ye Jinglu, the Chinese who had himself photographed every year for 62 years, and in another interpretation, Tehching Hsieh, who had himself photographed on the hour, every hour, for a year (his growing hair and the time clock in the background the only indication of this maverick activity).
Ways of Seeing (Business Standard)