Over many years Nine Dragon Heads has facilitated artists from all over the world to unusual, unexpected, and at times conflicting circumstances. Projects have engaged locations of cultural, political and historical significance such as the Demilitarized Zone, the Aral Sea of Uzbekistan, the Tibetan Plateau, Mongolia, Sarajevo, and within China places such as Beijing, Urumqi, The Taklamakan Basin and the Gobi Desert. Additionally, Nine Dragon Heads has engaged in a large number of projects in locations within my home country of South Korea.

For the exhibition Taste of Tea in Istanbul, we’ve chosen to use the environment of Istanbul, the Bosphorus, and the two train stations Haydarpasa and Sirkeci as our source material and current working space – all with the aim of presenting a new body of engaged artworks. The exhibition, both indoor and outdoor, is composed of artists from all five continents with 20 nationalities present. Additionally, our nomadic pavilion in one of the train carriages presents a selection of Nine Dragon Heads’ archive materials which include documentation of our recent research actives in Istanbul. For twenty years Nine Dragon Heads has embodied non-traditional modalities. We have facilitated symposiums and exhibitions within the institutional contexts of museums and galleries, but more significantly we have engaged artists within public space on an international level, outside of their studios, where they’ve immersed themselves in the deeper questions of art practice, ethics, and the environment.

Over the last two years, 25 artists have joined the “Taste of Tea” project, we have conducted research workshops on location in Istanbul, worked with local scholars, held countless meetings, made logistical visits, as well as maintained strong working ties together. In Nine Dragon Heads’ nomadic style this exhibition will last for three weeks until we jump to our next activities. Nine Dragon Heads seek to leave a new legacy of activity exemplified through the self-organizing principals of the participating artists and unfiltered and raw exhibition content. It’s with great pleasure and humble respect that I cordially present this Parallel Event of the Istanbul Biennale.

I hope you’ll join us for the Taste of Tea, let’s taste!

Sept. 2017 Istanbul
Artistic Director of Nine Dragon Heads
PARK Byoung Uk