Title Match: Tchah Sup Kim vs. Sojung Jun

E-Flux

SeMA, the Buk-Seoul Museum of Art. Del 25 de Julio a 15 Octubre 2017

Corea del Sur

Title Match is annual exhibition program by SeMA that selects one well-established and one emerging artist to showcase their works together and promote a dialogue between prominent artists from different generations. The current exhibition is the program’s fourth iteration. It presents Kim and Jun, who both focus on the identity crisis faced by many people in today’s world, including immigrants and refugees. It shows how the two artists explore and question notions of a “border identity” and seek answers to this ontological query.

Kim was born in 1940. During his youth, especially after 1945 when Korea re-gained its independence, the social and cultural structures of the country underwent dramatic transformations through the outbreak of the Korean War and the advent of nationalism. Studying fine arts at Seoul University in the 60s, Kim grew increasing discontent with the two major artistic trends of the day, Art Informel and Monochrome Painting. He attempted to discover new forms of expression by taking part in the earliest Korean experimental art movements. At that time, he also became one of the founding members of the Korea Avant-garde Group (A.G.). Since the late 60s, Kim has participated in a number of international exhibitions, including the 5th Paris Biennial (1967), the 7th Tokyo International Prints Biennial, and the 11th Sao Paulo Biennial (1971). From 1974 to 1976, with support from a Rockefeller fellowship program, he studied etching at the Pratt Institute in New York. Throughout his widespread artistic experimentation with etching, printing, and painting, Kim has been consistently working toward a purpose, which is to reveal and define the will of Koreans to resist in the face of a history of disgrace and Western art hegemony. Through his work, Kim has attempted to promote a Korean historical consciousness that he believes will remind people of the country’s potential and will.

Jun, on the other hand, represents a new generation born and raised in a globalized world. Now that the freedom of transcultural movement and access to far-reaching information has been secured, Jun finds herself situated in the midst of a vast global network. The realities of the country in which she lives are interwoven with those of other countries. There are problems and issues shared by all. In her serial work, for example, she addresses “the experts of everyday-life.” In these semi-fictional documentary recordings, Jun films people working at selected “disappearing jobs” (such as a seamstress and a masked performer) whose lives cannot be distinguished from the “arts” they perform. Moreover, through the series she deals with the identity issues faced by people who live in-between national boundaries, like the coal miners and nurses dispatched to Germany in the sixties and seventies and Korea-born adoptees. Jun’s work has been displayed in several important exhibitions, including the 11th Gwangju Biennial (2016) and Art Spectrum (2012). In 2014, she was awarded the grand prize at the 14th Songeun Art Prize. In the context of a globalized system in which the whole world is considered a single unit, Jun attempts to talk about the issue of the standardization of values under the economic logics of neoliberalism. Furthermore, in her quasi-documentary works she depicts the endless reproduction of exploitation and oppression by the capitalist class.

Through the eyes of Kim and Jun, the current exhibition raises the question of how to deal with our new reality, this fluid and constantly temporary state that makes up the contemporary world. Ultimately, the exhibition attempts to ask where we have been and where we are headed from here.

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