The Korea Herald


Korean pavilion at Venice Biennale will feature the theme ‘Gyre’ as world’s disorder

By Park Yuna

Published : March 30, 2022 - 14:48

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“Chroma” by Kim Yun-chul (Courtesy of the artist) “Chroma” by Kim Yun-chul (Courtesy of the artist)

The Korean Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale in April will be held under the theme of “Gyre,” as a metaphor for the confusion that the world goes through with seven installations created by artist Kim Yun-chul.

“The word ‘Gyre’ connotes multiple meanings. The Korean Pavilion will become a massive work itself, organically combined with Kim’s works. We will tear off the pavilion ceiling, so that the space mingles with nature with smell and natural light,” said curator Lee Young-chul at the press conference on Tuesday.

Installation artist Kim is an electroacoustic music composer and has explored magneto hydrodynamics, the study of the dynamics of electrically conducting fluids which is a totally new field of art. Kim is the sole artist who will showcase his works at the Korean Pavilion.

In an interview with The Korea Herald in October 2021, Lee said he planned to curate the exhibition revolving around the book, “La Citta del Sole (The City of the Sun),” by Tommaso Campanella (1568-1639). Campanella was an Italian monk, philosopher, poet and astrologer in the late Renaissance period, suggesting a utopian city of shared prosperity and wealth where everyone is treated equally.

The theme that overarches the exhibition has changed to Gyre in discussion with the artist later. The original overarching theme is embedded in the sub-theme of the show, “The Swollen Suns.” The exhibition will consist of “The Swollen Suns,” “The Path of Gods,” and “The Great Outdoors,” Lee said.

The Swollen Suns refers to the dissolution of human-centric absolutism. It is also the name of a monumental installation Argos - the Swollen Suns (2022), consisting of glass tubes that will flash with light as it detects muon particles, making this invisible matter visible.

Once detected, the signals are sent to a chandelier-shaped installation within the Pavilion, titled Impulse (2018), that pumps seawater sourced from Korea and Venice through hundreds of intertwined tubes surrounding the sculpture.

“The Swollen Suns means that absoluteness has scattered, losing its function. It is asking who is the commissioner of the Korean Pavilion,” Kim said, referring to the recent turmoil that occurred between the artist, curator and the commissioning body Arts Council Korea. Arts Council Korea is governed by council members who are appointed by the Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism.

Another theme, “The Path of Gods,” will show a fifty-meter-long kinetic piece Chroma V (2022) in the center of the Pavilion pulsating and breathing as it receives signals from Argos - the Swollen Suns.

The last theme “The Great Outdoors” reflects the absolute reality that exists beyond perception. A living sculpture named “La Poussiere de Soleils” is made from new material created by Kim that combines ground vermiculite and water to create a kaleidoscope of color.

The 59th International Art Exhibition of Venice Biennale will take place from April 23 to Nov. 27 with the title of “The Milk of Dreams,” curated by Cecilia Alemani.

By Park Yuna (