Full spectrum of images at Leeum

By Lee Woo-young
  • Published : Jul 17, 2012 - 19:50
  • Updated : Jul 17, 2012 - 19:50
Young Korean artists and Swiss video artist offer snapshots of latest visual art trend

Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art presents two special exhibitions featuring still pictures, documentaries and video work created by young Korean artists and an internationally renowned visual artist.

The museum is holding a group exhibition of eight young Korean visual artists as part of its biennial ArtSpectrum project and a solo exhibition of the world-famous Swiss visual artist Pipilotti Rist for two months.

“We would like to observe the current art trend of Korea as well as that of outside the country and shed light on the future of Korean art through the two separate exhibitions,” said the deputy director of the museum Hong Ra-young at a press event on Monday.

The museum started the ArtSpectrum project in 2001 to discover prospective young artists with great potentials.

This year, it selected eight artists: Kim Ayoung, Kim Ji-eun, Bae Chan-hyo, Oak Jung-ho, Jang Bo-yun, Jun So-jung, Choi Ki-chang and Han Kyung-woo, all in their early and mid-30s.

Artworks consist of pictures, videos and documentaries reflecting personal interpretations of Korean society, exploring one’s identity or remembering historical incidents long forgotten by many Koreans.

Oak Jung-ho’s yoga-pose pictures provokes laughter first, and then leave viewers questioning the intention of doing yoga poses in a black suit in unexpected places such as a mud flat, the middle of Hongdae Street in Seoul or an empty park at dawn.

By doing seemingly silly acts, Oak tried discuss the meaningless acts in our daily lives, according to exhibition curator Woo Hye-soo.

Artists educated abroad offer unique perspectives on their home country and its culture.

Bae Chan-hyo casts himself as female characters in portraits of Anne Boleyn and Mary Stuart, incorporating his experience of the cultural difference he felt as an Asian man living in England.

The disharmony of Bae being a character dressed in old Western attire leads viewers to reconsider Western classical painting images accepted naturally by many Asians, according to Woo.

Another artist educated in England takes a long-forgotten historical incident ― British Royal Navy’s illegal occupation of Korea’s Geomundo in 1885 ― as a subject in her 31-minute documentary, featuring British actors. Kim’s documentary invites viewers to learn about the incident which took place 130 years ago and shows how it remains to be considered a trivial incident amid other major incidents in modern Korean history such as the Japanese colonial occupation. 
“Spear to Heaven” by Pipilotti Rist. (Leeum)

The images by Korean artists may be a mix of ideas both familiar and unfamiliar. But the video installation “Spear to Heaven” by Pipilotti Rist brings to viewers into a whole new world of video art.

Four moving images projected onto the 36 translucent drapes installed in the Black Box hall transform the entire room into a healing space that slowly breaks the boundary between viewers and the artwork.

Images of flocks of sheep and flowers constantly moving accompany a calming tune from a music box that drifts through the hall.

“Usually video works are displayed on a wall-mounted screen, but this exhibition uses the entire hall as a screen, which also becomes a four-dimensional work as it is transformed into a sculpture-like installation,” said Woo.

“There is no narrative in the work. The artist just wants the viewers to follow their consciousness and experience healing power through it, which cures emotional wounds inflicted by others,” she added.

The “ArtSpectrum” and “Pipilotti Rist” exhibitions run from July 19 to Sept.16 at Leeum in Hannam-dong, Seoul. The museum is closed on Mondays.

For more information, call (02) 2014-6900 or visit www.leeum.org.

By Lee Woo-young  (wylee@heraldcorp.com)