There’s a very interesting feature on Seoul’s gallery scene in the summer issue of Frieze magazine, by Tate curator Lee Sook-kyung and artist and writer Travis Jeppesen. Lee’s contribution is particularly worthwhile, touching on the politics of Korea’s state-funded art institutions.
Jeppesen mentions some fascinating exhibitions, which makes me wish I was able to be in Seoul more often.
The snippet most caught my attention was Lee’s comment that Lee Seung-Taek and Kim Kulim are enjoying “renewed interest in their work”. Maybe this is written from her perspective as a Tate curator (she presumably has had a hand in Kim Kulim’s recent appearances there, and in Lee’s work being included in their collection) but nevertheless I hope it’s more broadly the case outside of London and Seoul. Korean art before 1990 is not just Dansaekhwa, Minjung and Paik Nam June. As Lee Sook-kyung says:
For almost four decades, these artists [Kim and Lee] have worked independently, having opted not to affiliate themselves with the academic establishment of the 1970s nor the dissident movement. This stance has enabled them to make performance and installation works that are both experimental and non-conformist. Recent revision of the 20th-century art-historical canon has put a new emphasis on the international dimensions of so-called Western movements such as conceptualism, minimalism and performance, and practices like Kim’s and Lee’s are now being written about as locally rooted yet globally connected examples.
Kim is certainly seeing a re-emergence in Seoul this year, from his re-performance of From Phenomenon to Traces at MMCA Gwacheon in Spring this year, via his re-enactment of the performance Do (Zen) 1970 (도 (道)) two weeks ago on 18 August to his solo show Traces of Life and Death at Arario Gallery from 30 August.
Another reason to want to be in Seoul right now…
- Why Performance in Authoritarian Korea? Joan Kee’s invaluable essay for the Tate.