A collection of photographs are hung on a wall, and in each image an individual holding a green rectilinear form is seen either standing or walking, idling or heading somewhere; presenting a painting to others. Unknown at the time, these green objects are become populated with different golden forms, yet to become visible as they are being photographed.
Four examples of the paintings are then made in New York, and are presented here next to the photographs to produce an abstract narrative of what might have happened at these sites of democratic rebellion. Doug Ashford (b. 1958, Rabat/New York) kept a newspaper clipping from the New York Times in 1980 when the 518 student uprising happened in Gwangju. In May 2016, Ashford visited Gwangju and Seoul as a participating artist for GB11; during that time he asked actors to present unfinished paintings to the sites of memorialization of the 518 uprising, to places of imprisonment and death, to where the movement for greater democratic representation still grow, and to the open air street celebrations that happened before the anniversary of the event itself. It is only by thinking about politics and aesthetics together that, in Ashford’s own words, “a possibility of resistance can be found in an emotional connection to a history that is remade.”
Source: 2016 Gwangju Biennale