Celebrating the opening of Sea Art Festival 2017

The Sea Art Festival, launched in 1987, is an environmentally-friendly art festival proudly boasting of the distinctive historicity of Busan. With 30 years of history, Sea Art Festival began with the Pre-Olympic to the 1988 Olympic Games held in Seoul, and has subsequently presented public-oriented works of art centering on Haeundae Beach and Gwanganli Beach, Busan, until 1995. Since then, Sea Art Festival has been held as an event of the Busan Biennale from 2000 to 2010, and in 2011, it started to be operated independently in order to cultivate its own distinctive cultural brand, being held every odd year.

Reflecting the natural environment and characteristics of the marine city of Busan, set in the backdrop of the vast ocean, Sea Art Festival is a cultural asset of Busan as well as an unprecedented nature environment art festival, unique in the world. Unfolding on the stage of the expansive ocean, the festival aspires to connect with the public by creating windows through which the audience can appreciate art and indulge in it. Consequently, as evidenced by such objective, the 2015 Sea Art Festival received the highest rating in the visual arts sector by the National Treasury.

This year focuses on the theme Ars Ludens: Sea+Art+Fun. The festival hopes to explore the nature of art through the element of ‘play’, and discover the meaning of ‘play’ in the splendid world of art. In visualizing such intention, 41 celebrated artists and artist teams from 11 countries demonstrate their own distinctive presentations of play, which is expected to offer refreshing and original visual experiences to the public.

The Sea Art Festival 2017 aspires to intimately share the joy of art appreciation with the public through the various other programs besides the exhibition. In particular, the discussion focusing on the keywords ‘art’ and ‘play’ will take place in expanded areas and fields rather than the existing ones, adding to the depth of the exhibition theme and offering fresh new nourishment to the Sea Art Festival. The composition of the educational program is also clearly remarkable in that the public will be able to work together with both domestic and international artists on the production of their works, and construct a platform for contemplating the issues of nature and environment through such process.

We hope that the Sea Art Festival — a cultural asset of Busan and an unprecedented sea art festival, constructed together with the audience — functions as a medium through which to bring in fresh vitality to the west part of Busan, and provide a new platform for urban regeneration of the city. My deepest gratitude goes to Suh Byung-soo, the mayor of Busan, Baek Jong Heon, the chairman of Busan Metropolitan City Council, and Lee Gyoung-hun, the Saha-gu District Officer who showed their utmost support in making the Sea Art Festival 2017 possible. I would also like to extend my warm applause and appreciation to all the involved employees from the City of Busan and the city council, as well as the exhibition director Do, Tae-Kuen, the participating artists, the staff members, and last but not least, the people of Busan.

LIM, Dong Lak
Executive Director of Busan Biennale Committee