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Unfixed – Meekyoung Shin solo exhibition at the KCC

Meekyoung Shin finishes a phenomenally busy year with a solo show at the KCC. This exhibition takes the place of the annual group show that the KCC has held for the past few years through a Call for Artists process.

Unfixed: A Solo Exhibition by Meekyoung Shin

Exhibition Dates: 12 Nov 2013-18 Jan 2014

Private View: 18.30 – 20.30, 11 Nov 2013

Meekyoung Shin: Translation – Vase Series (1995-ongoing), soap, dimensions variable. Installation view at ‘Korean Eye 2012’, Saatchi Gallery, London (Photo: Courtesy of the artist)

The Korean Cultural Centre UK is pleased to present Unfixed, an exhibition of new works by the London-based Korean artist Meekyoung Shin. The exhibition continues her exploration into ‘translation’, a slippage or a rift that occurs in the process of replication and dis- or re-location between different cultural and historical contexts. At the exhibition, Shin unleashes over a hundred works, including a number of significant installations from the Translation – Vases Series, Translation – Ghost Series, Toilet Project and a ‘real time’ video installation of her large scale public art project, Written in Soap: A Plinth Project.

Contextual gaps and their cultural translations have preoccupied the artist ever since her encounter with the Parthenon in Athens and the controversial Elgin marbles at the British Museum while studying at the Slade School of Art in 1990s. At the same time, Shin’s practice reflects the artist herself in a constant state of displacement. Made from soap, her works replicate artefacts and canonical works of art, from Asian porcelain vases to Greek and Roman sculptures, translating between continents, cultures and centuries in the process. The discrepancy between the extraordinary craftsmanship and the ubiquity and transience of its material brings into question the notion of authenticity, ‘high art’ and cross-cultural ‘translation’.

The KCCUK’s exhibition starts with an assortment of Chinese porcelain vases, Translation -Vase Series (1995-ongoing), made in soap, displayed on wooden packing cases. While issues of cultural hegemony and colonialism are subtly explored in the selection of these ‘artefacts’, having been originally produced in the East and consumed by the West, the packing crates further emphasise the sense of dislocation and transformation. This is followed by Translation – Ghost Series (2007-ongoing), a display of more than seventy translucent vessels, stripped of their decorative markings and reduced to their essential form, reiterating the idea of replication and a possible infinity of variation.

An island of forty works from Shin’s Toilet Project (2004-ongoing) occupies the next room. This is a result of the collaboration with 16 galleries and museums in 15 cities across the UK, which participated in the project that invited visitors to use the sculptures as soap aiding in their erosion. Some were destroyed, some stolen and some withdrawn due to complaints.

A real-time video installation of Written in Soap: A Plinth Project (2012-ongoing) will also be on view for the first time. This recent public art project resurrects the equestrian statues of the Duke of Cumberland, replicating the original that stood in Cavendish Square from 1770 to 1868. The video captures this internationally expanding project from its two venues, Cavendish Square erected in the summer of 2012, and at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, on view since July 2013. A rumination on public monument building and historicising memories, the new display juxtaposes the weathering process of the two sculptures and its interaction with differing audiences.

Unfixed: A solo exhibition by Meekyoung Shin is the 6th UK Korean Artist Exhibition at the KCCUK since we opened in 2008, an annual programme that offers UK-based Korean artists the opportunity to present their works in London. It is curated by Jonathan Watkins and will host the launching of a new fully-illustrated monograph on the artist published by Anomie Publishing in collaboration with the KCCUK.

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

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