Korea Tomorrow 2015

2015.10.2 – 2015.10.25

GUEST CURATORS YOON JinSub, MIN ByungJic, banejung, YANG JiYoon



HONG Somi(Secretary General/Deputy Director of Korea Tomorrow)

The semantics of language is considered as a primary vehicle for conveying meaning. At the same time, language influences and limits our ability to reason and interpret its content. This year, Korea Tomorrow adopts the alphabet “i” as the show’s main title. When recognized as a complete word referring to the first-person singular pronoun, “i” can be interpreted as one’s “self” or the subject “I”. On the other hand, the vowel “i” can be the result of an intentional omission of its consonant counterparts, leaving room for boundless interpretation and imagination.

For example, the singular vowel structure “i” conjures up associated images and words such as “identity,” “internet,” “idea,” “information,” “innovation,” “international,” and “i-phone.”  This interesting phenomenon is the product of the community in shaping the reader’s perception; the subject “i” and its various implications is integrated with a more complex and broader scope of sociocultural and historical context. Hence, existing connotations behind the incomplete “i” are amplified in an infinite and ever-changing matrix of meta-interpretations, revealing the vacillating polarities of contemporary art.

Correspondingly, the convoluted literacy of “i” - in connection with the subject “i” and the larger “world” - renders a more comprehensive consciousness of contemporary identity. The meta-connection of diverse values existing in both offline and online social network challenges our preconceived notions of selfhood. In an effort to overcome the fragmented dialogues of “identity” among Korean artists, exhibition “i” proposes a holistic and unrestricted approach to understanding and interpreting its concept.

The creative imagination of today’s artists is inter-linked into a joint workshop of intelligent contents. With the constant flux of visual information, individuals in this day and age seek room for elastic interventions in “clues” rather than in fixed, conventional “answers.” These idiosyncratic interpretations break up and alter images and texts from its original form through fragmentation, pixilation, and discontinuation. Eventually, the de-monumentalized imagery integrates to generate a whole new visual language and narrative. How should we perceive, develop, and structure our ideas around identity? Exhibition “i” traces visual clues that offer new angles of perceiving the “Self” and the larger world.

A curatorial team of four curators and art critics gathered together to discourse on four distinct keywords associated with the letter “i.”

Art critic YOON JinSup critiques the institutionalized contemporary art in the burgeoning museums, biennials, and art fairs through the term, “index.” Yoon’s thought-provoking insight on international standardization and centralized bureaucracy challenges the viewer and experts in the arts arena to reflect on ways of reclaiming the experimental essence of contemporary art.  

Vice director of Alternative Space Loop MIN ByungJic surveys the production, dissemination, and consumption of contemporary art on the virtual space. Observing the act of unrestricted storytelling specific to the Internet and social media, Min draws a parallel with the aggressive and invasive nature of an “infection.” Min warrants this emerging cultural phenomenon as an opportunity for artists to exercise full prerogative - a level of imagination undiscovered by past generations.

Documentary photography, installation, porcelain art, to name a few, are all categories by which a work of art is generally recognized. Art critic BAN Ejung delineates the “independent image” of contemporary art and the interpretation of its unique contents without being enslaved to a particular genre. Ban emboldens the aspiring artists to create an “independent image” that transcends generality of genre, inviting multimodal visual literacy and diverse channels for interpretation.

In response to the coercive demand for a one-dimensional definition of the aesthetic identity of Korean contemporary art, Mimesis Art Museum curator YANG JiYoon echoes the confessions of the artists: “unidentified.” Participating artists of Exhibition “i” represents contemporary aestheticism beyond the nationalistic perception by bringing forth a dynamic and heterogeneous strata of visual culture.

In conclusion, exhibition “i” faithfully examines the artist while questioning the collective contexts around the artist’s creative practice. While the four “interpretations” or “clues” deliberated by art experts YOON JinSup, MIN ByungJic, BAN Ejung, and YANG JiYoon are just few of many other diverse interpretations, this dialogue will serve as a launching pad for reaching a greater scope of revelation on the value and meaning of “i.”

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