Take ( ) at face value explores various aspects of modern Korean society through formats of contemporary art underpinning the stereotypes and bias that evolve around us. Spanning mixed media, photography, performance and painting, this exhibition will question the universal concepts that are revealed to us at face value. It is a rare opportunity to witness works from established contemporary Korean artists that have not had much exposure in the Australian art scene.
Korea is often described as a ‘fast-growing economy’, this can be seen in its economic boom, the global expansion of K-pop culture and its strong IT industry. This, in turn, has labelled the country to be associated with the term ‘hasty’ to the Western world. The facet of exponential growth permeates the overall Korean society, and the mentality of ‘haste’ has become a continuum in the daily lives of Koreans. ‘Nominalism’ raises a question of paradox against this universal perception by asserting that although universality appears to define a particular object or phenomenon, it is nothing than a mere ‘nomina’ or an abstraction behind the perception. This is the recurring ideal within the artworks in Take ( ) at Face Value. By critically disassembling the abstract nature of universality, we are able to reveal a more honest and truthful representation.
Kim Beom, Minja Gu, SaSa, Sulki and Min, Min Oh, Oan Kim, Choonman Jo, Ingo Baumgarten, Joo Jae Hwan, Nayoungim & Gregory Maass
Kim Kim Gallery
28 June – 29September
Korean Cultural Centre Australia Gallery
Minja Gu, The Authentic Quality: Spicy Seafood Noodle
22 June, 2-4pm, West Space (MEL)
Minja Gu, Past Nowadays
29 June, 11:30am-1:30pm, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (SYD)
Byungjun Kwon, This Is Me (이것이 나다)
26 June, 6-8pm, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (SYD)
‘Take ( ) at Face Value’ and performances are presented in partnership with the Korean Cultural Centre Australia, Kim Kim Gallery, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and West Space, and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism with support from the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange (KOFICE) as part of the Traveling Korean Arts Project.
Kim Beom is a key figure of his generation in South Korea, his ideas based in the shift created when image-making moves from language to physical form. His works challenge conventional ideas that are considered as social norms through fictional images using various mediums such as drawing, video, painting, installation. Born in 1963, Seoul, Kim Beom attended Seoul National University during South Korea’s student democratization movement and obtained both a BFA and an MFA there in 1988 and 1986. He then moved to New York City where he completed a second MFA at the School of Visual Arts in 1991. Kim’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Cleveland Museum of Art; and the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis in the United States; the Museum für Kommunikation, in Bern, Switzerland; and the Seoul Museum of Art, the Ho-Am Art Museum, Artsonje Centre, and the Horim Museum, in Seoul, and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, in Gwachun, Korea. Most recently he was exhibited at the 9th Asia Pacific Triennia of Contemporary Art, QAGOMA. (sources: ocula.com)
Minja Gu’s works appear frail and intimate, and almost indistinguishable from everyday life. Gu is predominately interested in what society uses and then discards. She recycles back into presence and with grace, wit and poetry the many supposedly valueless remnants of daily consumerism, such as leftover coffee cups or plastic bags. In addition to her physical artistic production she also initiates activities that run in parallel, or could be considered parasitic to everyday participation in society. Most recently she was exhibited at the Korea Artist Prize, National Museum of Modern And Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea (2018) and Performance x 4A, Art Central, Hong Kong (2018).
Byungjun Kwon is a musician and performance artist and pioneering figure of South Korea’s underground music scene. Beginning his career in the early 1990s as a singer/songwriter, Kwon released seven albums prior to relocating to Amsterdam, The Netherlands to study sonology and work for STEIM as a hardware engineer, a centre for the research and development of new electronic musical instruments. Since returning to Korea in 2011 he has expanded his practice into contemporary performance art, composing and performing experimental audio-visual works. Recent projects include This Is Me, Edinburg International Festival 2013, Edinburgh, Scotland (2013); Artificial Garden, Mediacity Seoul 2012: Spell on You, Seoul, South Korea (2012); and My Instrument My Sound, Culture Station Seoul 284, Seoul, South Korea (2012), alongside several electronic instrument projects at various workshops. (sources: 4A.com.au)
SaSa expresses his interest by adapting and re-interpreting ready-made objects and circumstances.
By enumerating significant incidents which matches the standards of the ‘picked’ incidents or laying out happenings that are derived from a memorable event within history couldn’t have been possible if it had not been for the accumulation of his knowledge and its appropriate usage generated by his life as a collector. In other words, his life itself is the motive power in connecting efficient loop between art, society and his personal life. Most recently his solo show ‘Ungmang’ was exhibited at the Ilmin Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea (2018). (sources: kukjegallery.com)
Sulki and Min are graphic designers working around Seoul, South Korea. They met at Yale University where they both earned their MFA degrees. After working as researchers at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, they returned to Korea in 2005 to start their own practice. Since then, they have created graphic identities, promotional materials, publications and websites for many cultural institutions and individuals. They have participated in numerous group exhibitions in Korea and abroad, at such institutions as Arko Art Center, Seoul; Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Ansan; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; SOMArts Cultural Center, San Francisco; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York; Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris; Plateau, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; and National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwacheon and Seoul.
Min Oh earned a BM in piano performance at Seoul National University and a BFA in industrial design and visual design at the same school. Oh also received a MFA in graphic design from Yale University. The artist served as an artist-in-residency for the New York Artists Alliance; Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France (with support of Samsung Foundation) and received the sixth Doosan Artist Award. Oh has held solo exhibitions such as 1 2 3 4 at Doosan Gallery in 2016, Trio at D Project Space, Daelim Museum in 2015, The Suite at De Nederlandsche Bank Art Gallery in Amsterdam in 2012 and has participated in exhibitions held at MMCA, Seoul Art Space Mullae, and Kukje Gallery.
Oan Kim studied art at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and musical writing at the National Conservatory of Music in Paris. Over the years his photographic work has developed an approach of the medium that is not strictly documentary, nor purely conceptual or pictorialist, but which is informed by all of the above, re-questioning the balance of these elements with each new series he produces. He has had more than a dozen gallery and museum solo exhibitions since 2000 in Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Seoul, and Macao, and has taken part in many group shows around the world.
Choonman Jo is a photographer focusing on the scenes of heavy industries. Born in 1956, he began to work as a welder in Hyundai Heavy Industry in 1974, which he now records in photograph. He is living in Ulsan, the Southern city in Korea and perhaps one of the biggest industrial cities in the world. Full of all kinds of heavy industries ranging from ship building to chemistry, Ulsan is a ground for Choonman Jo, photographic work. Educated in photography only very late in his career, he developed his own sense of photography totally on his own. (sources: kimkimgallery.com)
Ingo Baumgarten, assistant professor of the painting department, Hongik University, Seoul, Korea, is interested in commenting, often ironically, on banal aspects of everyday life by representing them as motives of his art. He is interested in demonstrating his individual view of the world around him without glorifying or condemning it. He would consider his work as a painter successful if it enables the spectator to adopt a more complex and altered perception of his surroundings afterwards. Baumgarten uses paint rather than photographs to portray these objects and details because it provides a better medium for formulating an individual point of view. This point of view, created by the artist’s hand, has a personal and human quality about it that intimately connects with the spectator. Most recently he was exhibited at the Pyonchang Culture Olympic DMZ Art Fiesta, Kangwondo, South Korea (2018) (sources: brunodavidgallery.com)
Joo Jaehwan started studying Western painting at the College of Fine Arts of Hongik University but in the first year (1960), he dropped out. Since he first appeared on the arts scene in 1980 on the occasion of the exhibition ‘Reality and Remarks’, he has participated in grass-roots activist art movements. He has held four individual exhibitions and exhibited his works at major collective exhibitions. In 2000s, Joo is working more actively than ever. The artist deems that the sense of freedom young artists feel from his various works is creating opportunities for them. He has held various solo exhibitions in Art Sonje Center in 2001, Alternative Space Sarubia in 2007, the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003, and many more. He was awarded The 10th Korean Artist Award in 2001, and Honorary Mention, Prize for the Promotion of the Arts in Gwangju Biennale in 2002. (sources: hakgojae.com)
Nayoungim & Gregory Maass first crossed paths in 1991 while students at École national supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Since 2004 they have collaborated as an artist duo, developing an oeuvre characterized by unexpected juxtapositions of ready-made objects in often satirical works of sculpture, installation and painting. Their work encourages viewers to critically reconsider contemporary pop culture, shining a humorous light on aspects of everyday life and perceptions of reality. Most recently they were exhibited at the ‘REPROSPECTIVE’, Sungkok Art Museum, Seoul, South Korea (2019).