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Three solo contemporary art exhibitions at one place

Art Sonje Center expands online platform with ‘Homework’

Installation view of “Tuesday” by Camille Henrot (Art Sonje Center)
Installation view of “Tuesday” by Camille Henrot (Art Sonje Center)

Art Sonje Center -- a private art museum in Seoul recognized for experimental contemporary art exhibitions -- is showcasing three solo exhibitions by different artists.

Bringing different displays to the museum, the three artists -- Camille Henrot, Lee Mi-re and Don Sun-pil -- guide visitors through diverse aspects of contemporary art.

At the exhibition “Saturday, Tuesday,” French artist Henrot brings light to social issues in connection with the seven days of the week. “Tuesday” shows a 20-minute video work of Brazilian martial artists competing in jiujitsu along with sculptures next to the video inspired by how the word “Tuesday” came from the Norse god of war and victory.

The film shows the jiujitsu competitors wrestle in slow motion, as if they are performing art, rather than competing against one another. The question of winning or losing is irrelevant.

Henrot’s other video work, “Saturday” was inspired by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The film combines images of its baptism rituals along with a food commercial, Botox injection and civil demonstrations, showing different human strategies to maintain hope in medical, religious and political dimensions.

Based in New York, Henrot has shown interest in human behavior and breaking social norms through her art. She was awarded the Silver Lion at the 55th Venice Biennale and the 2014 Nam June Paik Award. 

Kinetic installation ”Carriers“ by Lee Mi-re (Art Sonje Center)
Kinetic installation ”Carriers“ by Lee Mi-re (Art Sonje Center)

The exhibition “Carriers” shows installation artist Lee Mi-re’s new kinetic installation work of the same name, inspired by an animal’s digestive organs. Using a hose pump, the work constantly moves as if sucking up and extracting a viscous liquid substance made of gelatin. Next to the kinetic work is video work “Sleeping Mom,” where her actual mother appears while she is asleep.

Through the contradictory works, Lee said she wanted to employ a dialectic message to suggest the ambivalence in humans’ acts. She has shown interest in exploring energy, desire and vitality in humans.

Figurine artist Don Sun-pil displays 24 faces from different figurines and a video work at his exhibition “Portrait Fist” to explore how people understand and consume images of faces. The faces of his figurines contain peculiar objects instead of eyes, mouth and lips, confusing visitors from distinguishing between them.

“Don Sun-pil’s works particularly echo during the pandemic times. It is hard to distinguish people because everyone wears a face mask these days. It is quite ironic that we cannot recognize one another while looking straight into each other,” Kim Seong-won, an official from Art Sonje Center, told The Korea Herald. 

Installation view of “Portrait Fist” by Don Sun-pil (Art Sonje Center)
Installation view of “Portrait Fist” by Don Sun-pil (Art Sonje Center)

Meanwhile, the museum is expanding its online platform with the new webpage “Homework” (artsonje.org/homework), introducing various artists’ thoughts on COVID-19 and their works related to the pandemic. The name of the page suggests how art museums should transform during pandemic times. It also refers to the trend of working from home, a practice of the “new normal” that has surfaced over the past months.

The website will function as an online museum as well as an online research warehouse. The museum will introduce art catalogs from past exhibitions and research works based on its 22-year history.

By Park Yuna (yunapark@heraldcorp.com)
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