October is a big month for Korean culture in London as it marks the opening of the KCCUK’s three landmark events in the calendar: the London Korean Film Festival, the K-Music Festival, and now the Artist of the Year exhibition, which will be Love Your Depot, an installation by artist Jewyo Rhii. Love Your Depot unfolds as a collaborative and participatory project, exploring the process of delaying the death of works by artists. The installation is at once a physical storage space for artworks and a workspace for creative activities – including a gallery for other artists.
Jewyo Rhii: Love Your Depot
The Korean Cultural Centre UK (KCCUK), London and Locus+ are delighted to present Jewyo Rhii’s exhibition, Love Your Depot, marking her nomination as ‘2020 Artist of the Year’ – KCCUK’s major annual award programme.
About the Exhibition
Part of an ongoing project which awarded Rhii the 2019 Korea Artist Prize for her show at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), Seoul, the exhibition at KCCUK has been reconstituted into a multi-purpose, multi-dimensional presentation. Showcasing a combination of a physical storage space for artworks and a workspace for creative activities, Rhii also brings the show to the digital realm by creating an accompanying online platform .
Modular steel structures are aligned in a way that surrounds the central exhibition space, reminiscing the formation often seen in an industrial warehouse. Though it is not a pile of boxes and or industrial hardware that sits within the firm metal frames. Instead, we are met with an array of paintings and drawings that hang from adjustable racks, and fragmented sculptures judiciously positioned on the tiered shelving units. Designed as a prototype storage space for the artist’s work, Love Your Depot acts as an experimental system which belies the conventional norms of an archive by both housing and exhibiting artworks within a single compounded space. Here, Rhii disrupts the traditional art world cycle by proposing a new lifespan for works of art beyond museum cabinets and archives. Foregrounding the intersections between public and private spaces and those liminal spaces which lie between the two, Rhii’s work exposes what often remains hidden behind gallery walls.
Presenting a selection of her artworks previously archived in London, Rhii negates the practical, and potentially costly issue many artists’ face when choosing whether to keep or dispose of their works of art following an exhibition – a question particularly pertinent for younger artists whose exhibitions may span just days. By inviting a group of emerging artists to utilise the space as a platform for creative performances, Love Your Depot unfolds as a collaborative and participatory project – eschewing the notion of the exhibition as the climax of the life of an artwork.
Beyond KCCUK’s gallery space, Love Your Depot is also presented by way of an online platform. Reflecting upon the traditions of artistic practice to rely on the physicality of an artwork, Rhii challenges this concept by expanding the exhibition to the digital sphere. Creating both a physical and virtual exhibition, that emcompasses the notions of a place for establishing new collaborations and reigniting older relationships, an artwork storage as well as a space to flourish creative activities, Rhii, as critic Charles Esche states “builds conditions in which she can operate without total dependency on the art system”.
Following the London exhibition, Rhii will continue her project through an online presentation, developed in collaboration with Locus+ and The Globe Gallery situated in Newcastle upon Tyne, with more details to be announced. The project is curated by Jaemin Cha (KCCUK), Jon Bewley and Jonty Tarbuck (Locus+), and Rashida Davison (The Globe Gallery).