The Korea Herald


Explore different Annlees, 'Make a Wish' at Buk-Seoul Museum of Art

By Park Yuna

Published : May 19, 2024 - 16:41

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An installation view of “No Ghost Just a Shell An installation view of “No Ghost Just a Shell" at the Buk-Seoul Museum of Art (Courtesy of the museum)

In 1999, French artists Philippe Parreno and Pierre Huyghe purchased the copyright of a Japanese character they found in a manga catalog for about $400 at that time. The two artists named the character "Annlee."

For the next three years, Annlee was given diverse identities through some 30 paintings, sculptures, videos, books and music by 20 artists. These works were put together in Zurich in 2002 at the exhibition, “No Ghost Just a Shell.” The project was later collected by the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

Soon after, the artists decided to transfer the copyright to the character itself by founding an association in her name -- and liberated Annlee. The two artists -- Parreno and Huyghe -- launched fireworks in celebration of Annlee at the Miami Beach in 2002 during the inaugural night of the Miami Beach Art Basel fair. The fireworks cast the shape of Annlee's face across the sky above the beach.

"Annlee" by Richard Phillips (Courtesy of the Van Abbemuseum, the artist)

“It was a groundbreaking event in art history when the Van Abbemuseum purchased the entire project,” said Kim Seong-eun, managing director of the Buk-Seoul Museum of Art in northern Seoul. “The project particularly resonates today, as we are living in the digital world, where we can present different selves in an ordinary life.”

At the Buk-Seoul Museum of Art, different interpretations of Annlee have been brought together in an exhibition featuring 23 works by 14 artists, including Parreno, Huyghe, Liam Gillick and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

Given that Annlee was interpreted by different artists based on their relations with the social context and interactions with the public, “the project also touched on the concept of relational aesthetics," Kim said.

Coined by French curator and critic Nicolas Bourriaud in the 1990s, relational aesthetics describes art based on or inspired by human relations and their social context.

An installation view of An installation view of "Make A Wish" at the Buk-Seoul Museum of Art (Courtesy of the museum)

Another exhibition at the museum, “Make A Wish," is about how people's wishes are represented in art and how one can feel comfort in art, especially in a rapidly changing society. The works evolve around myths and folktales.

The exhibition is joined by eight artists -- Zadie Xa, Min Shin, Naomi, Lee Won-woo, Kwon Hee-soo, Kim Han-saem, Kim Da-bal and Hong Geun-young. Among the 45 artworks presented, 11 works were newly created for the exhibition, according to the museum.

The exhibitions run through Aug. 4.