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Atta Kim: ON-AIR (Palazzo Zenobio, Venice)

Details of one of the Collateral events at Venice, text courtesy of Arte Communications:

AttaKimAttaKim: ON-AIR: collateral event of the 53rd International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Inauguration: 5 June 2009 at 1.00 pm
Preview: 4 – 6 June 2009; opening hours 10.00 am – 8.00 pm
Open to the public: 7 June – 22 November 2009; opening hours 10.00 am – 6.00 pm (closed on Mondays – except Monday 8 June)
Venue: Palazzo Zenobio, Dorsoduro 2596 – 30123 Venice
Artist: Atta Kim
Curators: Jiyoon Lee (Independent Curator), Seong Seok Lee (Chief Curator of Gyeongnam Art Museum)
Organization: Gyeongnam Art Museum
Sponsors: Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea | Gyeongnam Art Museum | Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture | Gallery Hakgojae
Coordination in Venice: Arte Communications

This June, Palazzo Zenobio will host AttaKim: ON-AIR, a contemporary art exhibition by the internationally renowned Korean artist Atta Kim as a part of the Collateral Events of the 53rd International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

A performance by Atta Kim will be held during the opening ceremony at 1 p.m. on June 5th. “Rome-10,000” is an image obtained from 10,000 superimposed shots which were taken in Rome last year. For this performance the artist will throw the original 10,000 Roman pictures (measuring 5×7”) from which “Rome-10,000” was created from the top of the exhibition building. The performance is entitled “2009 Gaia”. Firstly, the performance symbolically means “Form becomes Void”, which is a concept derived from Oriental culture, whereby “void” substantially is the return to the original form. Secondly it aims to express sincere condolence for the victims of the earthquake in Italy and all victims in general. It will take from 15 to 20 minutes.

Atta Kim’s unique view of the world developed through his own exceptional training which evolved from the teachings of Heidegger, G. I. Gurdjieff and Zen Buddhism. His works such as the “In der-Welt-sein” series (1991), the “Deconstruction” series (1995) and The Museum Project (1995-2002) – creating a private museum by placing figures within plexiglass boxes – resulted in a strong impact on both the general public and the artistic scene. Since 2002, he has been working on the ON-AIR Project with the concepts of disappearance and existence. He successfully communicated his concepts through the first two editions of ON-AIR Project, the first being held at the International Center of Photography, Atta Kim: ON-AIR(2006) and the second at Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Atta Kim: ON-AIR(2008).

AttaKim: ON-AIR presents two main progressions of the ON-AIR cityscapes. The first series shows cityscapes of what should be busy global cities, but seemingly without signs of life or movement. By taking 8 hour exposure photographs of a single view of a city, Kim captures more permanent features, with more temporary features such as flags, people and cars fading behind blurs and time-compressed views. What Kim has also captured is the organic nature of cities, with even their more permanent features slowly fading away, as is evident on closer observation.

While the first series shows a temporal compression of a cityscape, the second series, which Kim has entitled ‘Indala’, shows a combination of temporal/spatial compression of a cityscape. Since 2007, the ‘Indala’ series has been taken in Moscow, Berlin, Prague, Paris, Rome, New York, Tokyo, Deli, and Washington, layering 10,000 images of each city which subsequently created one final image.

This series seems more conceptual/abstract than representational, until one finds that it was created by superimposing exactly ten thousand photographs that Kim took during his walkabout in the city. Ten thousand has more than a numerical value in Buddhism – the number also has the connotation of being ‘Many, many’. All photographs were given equal weight and importance, and when these ‘many-many’ photographs were superimposed, one ended up with a grey canvas. The Grey, according to Kim, did not come merely from mixing colours, but from superimposing space and non-space, matter and non-matter, and this suggests the twilight reality which all matter comes from and into which it will eventually fade.

The AttaKim: ON-AIR, then, might appear to be pessimistic and even nihilistic in its disappearing results, but paradoxically it is surprisingly uplifting. This is because, by showing the viewer that everything fades away, Atta Kim manages to impart value to everything, precisely because it will fade away, and emphasizes that both matters and non-matters, be they man, animal, or even seemingly inanimate features like cities, must be cared about and valued during their time of existence. Kim also pointed towards a new way in which photography as a medium can be used not only for representation, but more as a conceptual/abstract form whilst being faithful to the subject matter.

The project is organized by the Gyeongnam Art Museum (Chief curator: Seong Seok Lee) and curated by Jiyoon Lee, an independent curator and art historian based in London.

AttaKim: ON-AIR is kindly supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea and the Gyeongnam Art Museum.

(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

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