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MMCA to host pandemic-themed exhibition, spur research on video artist Paik Nam-june

"For Horned Ungulate" by Shin Hyunjung (MMCA)
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea announced Wednesday the exhibition line-up for the year and a plan for earlier completion of restoration of Paik Nam-june’s largest artwork, “The More the Better.”

Among the 23 upcoming exhibitions, “Pandemic -- Catastrophes and Cure,” which will look into how the artists are living through the pandemic and how it has affected countries and individuals’ lives, is the main highlight of the year.

The exhibition will be held in May at the Seoul venue with participation by international artists, including American artist Andrea Zittel, Finish visual artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila and Japanese sculptor Tatsuo Miyajima.

This year‘s exhibitions were curated with three themes of “Communication with the society,” “Spirit of the Era -- Convergence,” and “Balance and Harmony,” according to the museum.

In line with the themes, some important exhibitions include “The Traditional and Contemporary Korean Art,” “Encounters Between Korean Art and Literature in the Modern Age” and “Eco Art: Time of the Earth,” which will showcase art that expresses ecological perspectives as the pandemic increases awareness of environmental issues.

"Family of Poet Ku Sang" by Lee Jung-seob (MMCA)
Another highly anticipated exhibition is “After The More The Better,” an exhibition that focuses on the legacy of video artist Paik Nam-june.

The opening will coincide with the unveiling of “The More the Better” at the museum’s Gwacheon venue, after its restoration. Work on the artist’s largest artwork has been underway since 2019, under a three-year restoration plan. The museum is aiming to complete the restoration work by the end of the year.

“We are putting all efforts into restoring the artwork as soon as possible, hopefully by the end of this year, although we originally planned to reopen next year,” said MMCA Director Yun Bummo at the online press conference held on Wednesday. “The exhibition will encompass archival contents about the restoration. The schedule of the exhibition is subject to change according to the restoration schedule.”

The museum originally planned a large-scale archival exhibition of Paik last year, but the plan was tweaked to focus on restoration archives as well as the artist‘s legacy, including work by contemporary artists who were influenced by the video art master.

The museum, which recently initiated in-depth research on the artist, will make an announcement about how it will look after the artist’s legacy and turn the artist into a national brand when it unveils the restored artwork, according to the museum.

Solo exhibitions of renowned artists from home and abroad will be held at MMCA -- Korea’s monochrome painter Chung Sang-hwa in May, Korean abstract artist Choi Wook-kyung in September, Chinese installation artist Ai Weiwei in October and modern art master Park Soo-keun in November.

The museum’s annual budget for this year is 64.1 billion won, up 1.3 billion won from last year‘s budget, and includes funds to strengthen its digital museum in the pandemic era.

By Park Yuna (yunapark@heraldcorp.com)  
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