Selected Artists and Artworks
Bernar Venet (France, 1941-), Saturation with Large Curve, 2008
Bernar Venet is a revered sculptor and conceptual artist who seeks to examine the essence that lays hidden beneath the images of art. For him, the most effective tool for this inquiry is mathematics. As characterized by Saturation with Large Curve, his works should be viewed as pure sculptures made from the material of mathematical elements, with no direct attachment to theory or signification. Freed from the restrictions of theoretical consideration, we may enter a new realm of abstraction that surpasses the minimalist claims of geometric molding
Sulki & Min (South Korea, Min Choi 1972-, Sulki Choi 1977-), College Scholastic Ability Test for 1997: Mathematics, 2014
College Scholastic Ability Test for 1997: Mathematics by the graphic designers Sulki and Min pays homage to a test that best embodied the solemn beauty of mathematics and its education: a test known as one of the most difficult in history. The artists, who "chose art over math for the short of sensitivity to study the latter," respond to the math problems, which they cannot possibly solve, with their own method of "wrong abstraction."
Xavier Veilhan (France, 1963-), Standard Meter (n°10/12, n°6/12), 2007
Xavier Veilhan combines a modernist sensibility with the grammar and vocabulary of traditional art. To incorporate new technology in his work, he applies theories of mathematics and modern physics. At the end of the eighteenth century, the French government was seeking a standardized unit in order to facilitate trade between different cultures. As a result, they created and adopted the standard of one meter, which is now used throughout the world. Standard Meter reinterprets the legacy of the metric system through a simple, minimalist shape created with highly sophisticated technology. Notably, the bar’s length is precisely one meter, down to the level of a single micron.
Carsten Nicolai (Germany, 1965-), Grid Index, 2009, Moiré Index, 2010
Carsten Nicolai is a German electronic musician and media artist whose works are generally based on the scientific reference system. For this exhibition, he suggests a decisive visual dictionary on audio-visual phenomena related to mathematical patterns, including two-dimensional grids, randomness, structural phenomena of self-organization, etc.
Q: Is the subtitle ‘Mathematicians _ Heart of Gold and the Abyss’ really necessary?
A: The subtitle was chosen to symbolize the mathematization of today’s world, which, since the modern era, has been regulated by numbers and calculations (matrices and operations).
However, the idea of a mathematized society should not carry the negative connotation of a cold, calculating world. Although Kurt Gödel shattered the dream of completeness by showing that indeterminacy was inherent to every mathematical system, we continue to use math to effectively advance our society, not only in the field of mathematics, but in science, law, digital aesthetics, etc. Mathematicians have always been driven by an unquenchable passion to discover the essential truth of the universe. This yearning for a heart of gold has persisted throughout the ages, and will certainly continue to motivate all of our future endeavors.
Art, on the other hand, awakens us to the gaps and exits in our society, which we cannot otherwise see, either because they are invisible or because we avoid looking at them. Thus, the power of art lies in its capacity to make people see points that are impossible to calculate or determine, thus enabling us to imagine totally different ways of life. The exhibition title refers to Martin Heidegger, who referred to such points as the abgrund, or abyss.
Q: That seems somewhat abstruse for general visitors. Couldn’t you make it a little easier and more welcoming?
A: Many famous artists have created paintings that involve mathematical allegories or geometrical objects, including M.C. Escher (1898-1972), Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), and Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968). But it can be very difficult to receive intellectual pleasure from looking at such works, because they are almost impossible to analyze intuitively. But this exhibition is not a test, and the artworks are not problems to be solved.
As I mentioned, the main objective is to find out how contemporary artists view the mathematized world. Even people who feel a little hesitant about this new visual experience because they lack advanced knowledge are sure to enjoy these materials, because they can draw on their own experience in this mathematized world.
Q: When will the exhibition catalogue be published?
A: It will be published before the end of the exhibition.
Exhibition Related Events
o Artists Talk
- Date: August 23. 2014 (SAT)
- Program: The talk concert with Dr. Cedric Villani, the Fields Medalist of ICM 2010, and Ekaterina Eremenko, the director of a documentary film where Dr. Villani participated
ㅇ Special Cinema Programme
- Date: August 13. 2014 – September 20. 2014
- Movies: <Primer>, <Upstream Color>
ㅇ Education Program
Look into an exhibition (for Elementary school classes) / Look into an exhibition (for Secondary school classes) / Art workshop
- Date: Every Wednesday 10:00-11:00 from September to December
- Participant: Group of students from elementary to high schools, clubs, and adults
- Program: Focused concentration training on <Matrix> and workbook activity
ㅇ Exhibition Highlights and Interpretation
- Date: TUE-SUN 11:00 / 14:00 / 16:00
ㅇ Annual conference of the Korean Society of Art Theories
- Date: October 25. 2014 (SAT)
- Program: Presentation of a scientific research on ‘Mathematics and Art’
※ Schedule changes may occur depending on the situation.
Please refer to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art website(www.mmca.go.kr) for more detailed information.