Speed Date with Korean Artists

An interesting upcoming event at Chelsea College of Art & Design. Given LKL’s talk on this subject back in 2009, this is an event we wholeheartedly support.

Speed Date with Korean Artists

in the context of THE SHOW MUST GO ON
27 September 2012, 5pm – 7pm
Venue: Lecture Theater | Chelsea College of Art & Design | 16 John Islip Street | London SW1P 4JU
Cooperation: Chelsea College of Art & Design, University of the Arts London
Sponsors: Arts Council Korea | British Council Korea
Artists: CHANG Jia | KIM Kira | MOON Hyungmin | Ligyung | WON Seoung Won

Chang Jia

Seoul-based artist CHANG Jia’s recent works present nuanced statements on gender through shocking subject matter.

Although the subject matter may initially shock the viewer, CHANG’s works break the boundaries of the expected roles of women and gives them expanded possibilities in the realms usually reserved for men. She claims the upright stance — one traditionally assumed by men — for women.

Chang Jia Sitting Young Girl (2009) and Standing up peeing 5 (2007)
Chang Jia Sitting Young Girl (2009) and Standing up peeing 5 (2007)

CHANG Jia’s work has been recognized as a revolt against social norms and institutionalized society. She attempts to awaken our consciousness which is curtailed by the power of institutions. In her work she uses fantasy to escape contemporary life and a world she feels is inundated with rationality and morality.

CHANG Jia represents the violence of the system by revealing her masochistic position. CHANG Jia selfconsciously assumes the role of the victim in a system that demands submission. But rather than being an earnest indictment, the work foregrounds its absurdist intentions and thus sets off disturbances in the authority of that system. In fact, at certain moments, the staged physical violence verges on discomfiting comedy, and her impassive pose becomes a mock-heroic portrait of the artist as a martyr. Though the mute language of the flesh, CHANG Jia elicits a heightened awareness of the fissures that threaten the stability of systems built on oppressive force.

Chang Jia: Physical requirements for being an artist (2000)
Chang Jia: Physical requirements for being an artist (2000)

CHANG Jia received her BFA and her MA at the Korean National University of the Arts, in Seoul, South Korea.CHANG’s work has been shown at the Hellenic American Union (Athens), the Gwangju Biennale, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Basel), the British Museum (London), the Seoul Museum of Art (South Korea) and the video show “Out of Touch” at Kunnstahlle Wien (Austria).

Kim Kira

A Palace of Mirages, a Narrative of Spectacles

Kim Kira: The Republic of propaganda (2008); Still Life series (2008)
Kim Kira: The Republic of propaganda (2008) LED, Cinema and sound instalation; Still Life series (2008) Oil on canvas

Kim’s continuous interest in the intrinsic structure of power reaches to another level with his recent work, The Secret Garden as a Paranoia. The artist points out the vestiges of colonialism in the discourse of cultural differences, pursuing his critiques of social inequality and prejudice in regard to the issue of marginalisation. By displaying traditional style china and miniature plant that are associated with so called ‘Korean’ or ‘Oriental’ images, he reveals the paradoxical nature of these denationalised and stereotypical icons. Whilst Kim’s previous work seemed to retain certain distances from their subjects, like people with disabilities, full-time housewives and organised gang members, this installation piece forms a more subjective yet layered meaning that allows a diverse interpretation.

Kim Kira: A security garden as paranoia (2008)
Kim Kira: A security garden as paranoia (2008) LED builds, designed speakers, sound, ceramics, CCTV, plants installation

The series of still-life paintings shown for the first time in this exhibition shares a similar theme with Coca-Killer, dealing with issues of multi-national capitalism and mass consumerism. Based on the realisation of standardised metropolitan lives, this work suggests a counter-balancing viewpoint that completes the reconsideration of the politics of differences raised in The Secret Garden. Employing the form of Western oil painting with golden frames, Kim shows how these oil paintings could be reduced to an indistinguishable mess of images to a Korean artist just like the Eastern culture could become uniform and archetypal to Western viewers. Besides, the flies and bugs adopted from the seventeenth century Northern European still-life paintings convey the ethical and religious themes of the traditional genre of painting into the realm of contemporary consumerism.

Sook-Kyung Lee, Tate Liverpool Asian Exhibitions Curator


Ligyung: The tree of knowledge of good and evil (2001); More Light: I’m telling a lie 01 (2012)
Ligyung: The tree of knowledge of good and evil (2001) high voltage bulb, MDF, glossy paint 400×9500×280cm; More Light: I’m telling a lie 01 (2012). Laser level, Par light, smog, haze, MDF, sound (installation view)

“How incomplete it is to believe only what you see?” Since the early 2000s, Ligyung’s installations have shown consistent attention to thought on humanity and society rather than spectacle and sensuous amusement. Especially for the artist, light has been central to her art. In her solo show more Light (2012) she explores relations between outer appearance and existence, phenomenon and existence and issues of society, environment, and human spirit, presenting light, non-physical form in synesthetic installations. Ligyung’s work meets our fundamental awareness of man and society in that it signifies the original deficiency and loss of the subject in a vague, dim space. Her work is impressive in that it enables our insights into society and human beings amid an absence of concrete objects, crossing any context.

Ligyung: More Light (2012)
Ligyung: More Light (2012). Line laser, glass, mirror, MDF 780×780×310H (cm)

Bae Myung-ji, Senior Curator of Coreana Museum of Art

Ligyung received her BA in fine art at Kyung-Hee University, 1992. Seoul. Korea. MA in fine art at Chelsea college of art and design, 1997. London, U.K

Ligyung’s work has been shown at the ZKM contemporary art museum (Karlsruhe, Germany), The Guild art (Mumbai, India), 14 Wharf Rd project space at Victoria Miro Gallery (London), Ota fine art (Tokyo, Japan), Seoul Museum of Art (Seoul), Ljubljana Biennale (Slovenia), Gwang-ju Biennale (Gwang-ju)

Moon Hyungmin

The artistic practice of Hyungmin MOON cannot be defined by one genre as it encompasses various fields from painting, photograph, installation, and sculpture to video art. Though it isn’t new that an artist works in different genres, retaining the characteristics of his or her own style throughout the whole practice is unusual. Hyungmin MOON is one of those artists who are keeping his balance in two different qualities, and this is possible as he works within a common pattern of ‘contradiction between form and content’ and ‘black humor’.

Moon Hyungmin: by numbers series: Playboy 2009 (2010); recycle project: a doghouse built out of my own artworks damaged due to storage and sales problems after costing $3,000.00 for production and $6,000.00 for shipping for an onetime exhibition in London (2009) + am so international (2008)
Moon Hyungmin: by numbers series: Playboy 2009 (2010) painting on canvas 150×150cm; recycle project: a doghouse built out of my own artworks damaged due to storage and sales problems after costing $3,000.00 for production and $6,000.00 for shipping for an onetime exhibition in London (2009) mixed media 240×300×360cm + am so international (2008). LED Lighting System. 30×220×20cm

The theme of ‘contradiction between form and content’ is a basic element in his work. Reflecting virtues required in each genre, well painted pictures and sophisticated photographs of neat composition are the elements drawing viewer’s attention. But the stories that each work contains is demanding or complicated. As he says he is not painting but ‘producing’ a painting, each work captures disparate or unexpected stories rather than validating formal traits of each genre. Like an identity of contemporary art, a range of contents unattainable just by looking at the surface of the work, is created through common process of research and module system, talking back as they continuously collide with images behind images. In this sense, his practice is meta-contemporary art and conceptual art.

Moon Hyungmin: love me two times #02 (2010) icing sugar 10×10×40 cm
Moon Hyungmin: love me two times #02 (2010) icing sugar 10×10×40 cm

Another important quality of Hyungmin MOON’s practice is black humor. Despite the fact that he is not judging values or taking critical position, black humor of which is produced in the process of maximizing the ‘contradiction between form and content’ makes the viewers question fundamental aspects of situations revealed as a result of discrepancy between image and contents that they are watching. Hence his black humor calls attention to social regulations and conventional notions upon which general public follow unconsciously. It is the responsibility of the viewer to read what’s behind the image or the bitter humor of the artist. The artist is simply asking the feelings and thoughts regarding his work and existing situations.

As previously stated, while the ‘contradiction between form and content’, black humor resulting from that, and questioning viewers are basic rules to understand Hyungmin MOON’s work, it should be done within the context of bigger prospect. This is the reason that he is not satisfied with individual work but does varied body of series works. He acknowledges that a work of art can be interpreted in so many ways depending on the situation and the time as if putting the puzzle together. That is why the meaning of his work is always fluid and can be translated anew.

WON Seoung won

Won Seoung Won: My Age of Seven - The Sea in My Mom’s Hometown (2010); Rippling Today (2012)
Won Seoung Won: My Age of Seven – The Sea in My Mom’s Hometown (2010) c-print 125×195cm; Rippling Today (2012) c-print 125×200cm

WON Seoung won’s work process is so deliberate, slow and labor intensive as to appear almost foolhardy. She begins by planning a story and creating a skeleton for her work using drawings, then searches for a place and subjects to match the picture, then begins shooting. Won has traveled all the way to Yunnan Province in China to find clouds that pleased her, and spent several years wandering around far-flung corners of Korea to find the village scenes she wants to express. Thousands and thousands of image fragments, each gathered from a different place and a different time, are cut out and collated by mouse on the artist’s computer screen, where they are subtly arranged and reborn as a new image totally different from their original sources. In Won’s works, some of which take years to complete, several hundred layers come together to create a narrative structure where deep and rich cinematic stories flow within a single frame. Some of these narrative images recreate the artist’s own traumas; some reconstitute the wishes of her friends. They contain stories of dreams and of the future that entwine themselves with individual memories to create an infinite number of possible versions, according to their viewer.

Won Seoung Won: Tomorrow-Village of dogs (2008) c-print 200×120cm
Won Seoung Won: Tomorrow-Village of dogs (2008) c-print 200×120cm

WON Seoung Won received her BFA. in Sculpture at Chungang University, Seoul and MFA in fine art at the Kunstakademie Duesseldorf, Germany and MFA in Media Art at the Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln, Germany

WON Seoung Won’s work has been shown at the Liverpool Biennial City States (England) MOCA Shanghai (China) Seoul Museum of art (Korea) National Museum of Contemporary Art (Korea) Museum of fine art Houston (USA) Marugame Genichiro Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art (Japan)

1. General Information

Title: The show must go on
Date: 2012. 7. 15 ~ 12. 15
Location: Berlin: Ando Gallery | London: I-MYU Projects | Stuttgart: Würtemmbergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart | Kota Kinabalu: KYS Media Centre
Project Director: Nathalie Boseul Shin
Cooperation: Chelsea College of Art & Design
Sponsors: Arts Council Korea, Koreanische Kulturzentrum, British Council Korea
Participating artists (Sep. 2012): CHANG Jia | KIM Kira | LEE Beikyung | LEE Sekyung | LEE Changwon | Ligyung | MOON Hyungmin | NOH Suntag | OH Jaewoo | WON Seoung Won

2. Introduction

In the summer 2012, there will be many international art fairs in Europe, such as Kassel Documenta, Made in German and the Basel Art Fair which bring together all the acclaimed curators, collectors and other people related to the Art world. Unfortunately, there aren’t many Korean artists to be found participating in these events. The show must go on intends to promote Korean artists in a more practical and effective way.

Beyond the exhibition space,
the show must go on.

Until now, only the occasional group exhibitions of Korean Contemporary Art offered a chance for Korean Artists to present themselves abroad. These national group exhibitions provide a helpful first step for the Artists, as in the case of Chinese and Japanese Artists. Such group exhibitions, however, seldom manage to show the full depth of an Artist’s work. It is therefore difficult to present an Artist where his presence is limited to one or two pieces of work.

According to the research conducted by the project organization team Korean Artists are relatively active abroad this year. There are many Artists who are based at the German residence in the NRW area and also those who have held solo exhibitions at galleries abroad such as the LACMA in LA. Unfortunately, despite their growing numbers, these activities still remain disparate and punctual.

If these events were to be organized in a way they are made permanent and recurrent and adapted to international events in style and originality, Korean Artists would benefit from an efficient introduction overseas. Such efforts will assure a cooperative network between Korean Artists, overseas coordinators and foreign collectors. All comes down to managing all the punctual events from a larger perspective in order to maintain exposure and systematically promote Korean Artists. “The show must go on!”

The exhibition in Germany, the talk in England,
the show goes on!

In The show must go on a new form of exhibition and talk were designed based on the present situation. If Artist talks were considered an auxiliary event to the exhibition until now, this project grants much more significance to these talks and uses them as the main tool for promoting the exhibitions. For example, an Artist in a residence in Dusseldorf will be made to talk in Stuttgart and Artists participating in an exhibition in Stuttgart will talk in London. An exhibition in Japan will be discussed in Berlin and an exhibition in Korea becomes the subject of a round-table in London. Unlike Asia, it is easy and relatively cheap to move between countries within Europe. By enlarging the scope of promotion, it seems likely that the delocalized talks will bring more interested people from further away to the exhibition.

Network promotion in collaboration with institutions,
the show goes on!

The show must go on relies on a collaboration of 5 months between each institution, where a portfolio of participating Korean Artists and presentations through digital media will take place during the whole period.


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