The Korea Herald


Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuna hosts first solo exhibition in Asia

By Park Yuna

Published : Feb. 19, 2021 - 15:53

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Installation view of “Quipu Girok” at Lehmann Maupin in central Seoul (Lehmann Maupin) Installation view of “Quipu Girok” at Lehmann Maupin in central Seoul (Lehmann Maupin)

Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuna based in New York is showcasing her first solo exhibition in Asia at Lehman Maupin in Seoul.

The 73-year-old artist is also an activist who advocates human rights issues and stands against the cultural homogenization phenomenon associated with globalization reflect this through her artwork.

The exhibition title “Quipu Girok” is a combination of the ancient Andean word quipu, which means a knot, and the Korean word girok, which means record. 

Cecilia Vicuna (Lehmann Maupin) Cecilia Vicuna (Lehmann Maupin)

The quipu, which is an Andean method of visual-tactile communication and recordkeeping system involving the knotting of colored strings, becomes a conceptual and performative poem in the space as an act of resistance based on Vicuna’s desire to recover the lost history of this ancient form of writing. The quipu has been the artist’s art medium since the 1960s and 1970s.

The exhibition is a poetic interpretation of time and place where global histories, ancient and contemporary memory, and multiple languages come together and where textiles meet in an act of generosity and love.

The main artwork at the exhibition with the same name as the title of the exhibition “Quipu Girok,” is a large-scale quipu installation comprised of columns of painted gauze --which are reminiscent of ancient forms of indigenous painting on weaving -- and silk polyester of the material of hanbok, or traditional Korean costume, and cotton that hang vertically from uneven bamboo sticks.

Kicked off on Feb. 18, the exhibition coincides with the 13th Gwangju Biennale which will feature Vicuna’s paintings from the 1970s -- a recreation of a series of paintings on fabric that Vicuna produced from 1975-1977 as an homage to the women who served in the Vietnam War. The biennale will be held for 39 days from April 1 to May, featuring 69 artists and 41 new commissions under the theme of “Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning.”

Vicuna’s works are owned by globally renowned museums as collections including Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Tate Gallery in London, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Santiago, Chile and Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain de Lorraine, Metz, France

The exhibition runs through April 24 at Lehmann Maupin in central Seoul.

By Park Yuna (