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Korea Artist Prize 2016

31.Aug.2016 - 19.Feb.2017

  • Korea Artist Prize 2016
  • Kim Eull, Twilight Zone Studio (inside), 2016, Installation (lumber, plywood), drawing installation
  • Kim Eull, Twilight Zone Studio (inside), 2016, Installation (lumber, plywood), drawing installation
  • Kim Eull, Twilight Zone Studio (inside), 2016, Installation (lumber, plywood), drawing installation
  • Kim Eull, Twilight Zone Studio (inside), 2016, Installation (lumber, plywood), drawing installation
  • Kim Eull, Twilight Zone Studio, 2016, Installation (lumber, plywood), drawing installation
  • Kim Eull, Galaxy, 2016, Approx. 1,450 Drawing installation, Dimension variable
  • Kim Eull, Galaxy, 2016, Approx. 1,450 Drawing installation, Dimension variable
  • Kim Eull, Galaxy, 2016, Approx. 1,450 Drawing installation, Dimension variable
  • Kim Eull, Galaxy, 2016, Approx. 1,450 Drawing installation, Dimension variable
  • Kim Eull, Twilight Zone Studio (inside), 2016, Installation (lumber, plywood), drawing installation
  • Mixrice, Zelkova in a village entrance, Miryang, 2013
  • A part of the 62 Chinese Hackberry trees that got illegally relocated from a damaged Gotjawal
  • Mixrice, The Vine Chronicle, Two-channel video, HD, Sound by: Choi Tae Hyun
  • Mixrice, The Vine Chronicle, Two-channel video, HD, Sound by: Choi Tae Hyun
  • Mixrice, Plany Graffiti, 2016, Graffiti on the wall, Dimension variable
  • Mixrice, Badly Flattened Land 2, 2016, Installation(dirt from redeveloped neighborhood), 360x820cm
  • Mixrice, Badly Flattened Land 2, 2016, Installation(dirt from redeveloped neighborhood), 360x820cm
  • Mixrice, Badly Flattened Land 2, 2016, Installation(dirt from redeveloped neighborhood), 360x820cm
  • Mixrice, Badly Flattened Land 2, 2016, Installation(dirt from redeveloped neighborhood), 360x820cm
  • Mixrice, Window, 2016, Silk screen on the glass, 80x120x(3)cm
  • Back Seung Woo , Framing From Within 2016, Digital pigment print, 30x40x(36)cm
  • Back Seung Woo, Wholeness 2016, Digital pigment print, 120x148cm,100x123cm,80x100cm, 65x81cm,50x62cm
  • Back Seung Woo, 11 Players, 2016, Digital pigment print, 43x269cm
  • Back Seung Woo, Betweenless 2016, Digital pigment print, 30x40x(36)cm
  • Back Seung Woo, Colorless, 2016, Three layers of billboards, 390x270x10cm
  • Back Seung Woo, Colorless, 2016, Three layers of billboards, 390x270x10cm
  • Back Seung Woo, Colorless, 2016, Three layers of billboards, 390x270x10cm
  • Back Seung Woo, Betweenless 2016, Digital pigment print, 30x40x(36)cm
  • Back Seung Woo, Betweenless 2016, Digital pigment print, 30x40x(36)cm
  • Back Seung Woo, Betweenless 2016, Digital pigment print, 30x40x(36)cm
  • Ham Kyung-ah, <Soccer Painting by the Soccer Ball Bouncing Over Crocodile River>, 2016
  • Ham Kyung-ah, <Soccer Painting by the Soccer Ball Bouncing Over Crocodile River>, 2016
  • Ham Kyung-ah, <UnCamouflage Series 01,02,03,04,05>, 2016, Courtesy of the artist
  • Ham Kyung-ah, <UnCamouflage Series 01,02,03,04,05>, 2016, Courtesy of the artist
  • Ham Kyung-ah, <Unrealized the Real: 29,543+1person, 909,084km>, 2016, Courtesy of the artist
  • Ham Kyung-ah, <Unrealized the Real: 29,543+1person, 909,084km>, 2016, Courtesy of the artist

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Korea Artist Prize 2016

Kim Eull, Twilight Zone Studio (inside), 2016, Installation (lumber, plywood), drawing installation

Kim Eull, Twilight Zone Studio (inside), 2016, Installation (lumber, plywood), drawing installation

Kim Eull, Twilight Zone Studio (inside), 2016, Installation (lumber, plywood), drawing installation

Kim Eull, Twilight Zone Studio (inside), 2016, Installation (lumber, plywood), drawing installation

Kim Eull, Twilight Zone Studio, 2016, Installation (lumber, plywood), drawing installation

Kim Eull, Galaxy, 2016, Approx. 1,450 Drawing installation, Dimension variable

Kim Eull, Galaxy, 2016, Approx. 1,450 Drawing installation, Dimension variable

Kim Eull, Galaxy, 2016, Approx. 1,450 Drawing installation, Dimension variable

Kim Eull, Galaxy, 2016, Approx. 1,450 Drawing installation, Dimension variable

Kim Eull, Twilight Zone Studio (inside), 2016, Installation (lumber, plywood), drawing installation

Mixrice, Zelkova in a village entrance, Miryang, 2013

A part of the 62 Chinese Hackberry trees that got illegally relocated from a damaged Gotjawal

Mixrice, The Vine Chronicle, Two-channel video, HD, Sound by: Choi Tae Hyun

Mixrice, The Vine Chronicle, Two-channel video, HD, Sound by: Choi Tae Hyun

Mixrice, Plany Graffiti, 2016, Graffiti on the wall, Dimension variable

Mixrice, Badly Flattened Land 2, 2016, Installation(dirt from redeveloped neighborhood), 360x820cm

Mixrice, Badly Flattened Land 2, 2016, Installation(dirt from redeveloped neighborhood), 360x820cm

Mixrice, Badly Flattened Land 2, 2016, Installation(dirt from redeveloped neighborhood), 360x820cm

Mixrice, Badly Flattened Land 2, 2016, Installation(dirt from redeveloped neighborhood), 360x820cm

Mixrice, Window, 2016, Silk screen on the glass, 80x120x(3)cm

Back Seung Woo , Framing From Within 2016, Digital pigment print, 30x40x(36)cm

Back Seung Woo, Wholeness 2016, Digital pigment print, 120x148cm,100x123cm,80x100cm, 65x81cm,50x62cm

Back Seung Woo, 11 Players, 2016, Digital pigment print, 43x269cm

Back Seung Woo, Betweenless 2016, Digital pigment print, 30x40x(36)cm

Back Seung Woo, Colorless, 2016, Three layers of billboards, 390x270x10cm

Back Seung Woo, Colorless, 2016, Three layers of billboards, 390x270x10cm

Back Seung Woo, Colorless, 2016, Three layers of billboards, 390x270x10cm

Back Seung Woo, Betweenless 2016, Digital pigment print, 30x40x(36)cm

Back Seung Woo, Betweenless 2016, Digital pigment print, 30x40x(36)cm

Back Seung Woo, Betweenless 2016, Digital pigment print, 30x40x(36)cm

Ham Kyung-ah, <Soccer Painting by the Soccer Ball Bouncing Over Crocodile River>, 2016

Ham Kyung-ah, <Soccer Painting by the Soccer Ball Bouncing Over Crocodile River>, 2016

Ham Kyung-ah, <UnCamouflage Series 01,02,03,04,05>, 2016, Courtesy of the artist

Ham Kyung-ah, <UnCamouflage Series 01,02,03,04,05>, 2016, Courtesy of the artist

Ham Kyung-ah, <Unrealized the Real: 29,543+1person, 909,084km>, 2016, Courtesy of the artist

Ham Kyung-ah, <Unrealized the Real: 29,543+1person, 909,084km>, 2016, Courtesy of the artist

Current exhibition booked
  • Period 31.Aug.2016 - 19.Feb.2017
  • Venue Gallery 1,2
  • Artists Kim Eull, Back Seung-woo, Ham Kyung-ah, Mixrice(Yang Chul-mo, Cho Ji-eun)
  • Organ
    ized by / Suppo
    rted by
    MMCA, SBS
  • Admission       4,000won(Tickets for all exhibition at MMCA Seoul)

  • Exhibition
    introduction

The Korea Artist Prize is recognized not only as the flagship exhibition of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, but indeed as the most prestigious art award in Korea. Since 2012, the museum, in collaboration with the SBS Culture Foundation, has presented this award and the accompanying exhibition, continuing the tradition of the former Artist of the Year (1995-2010). Intended to support the most capable and creative artists in Korea, the Korea Artist Prize always draws tremendous interest from the art field and general public alike.

The selection process for this award began with the steering committee, which appointed eight recommenders and a team of judges from the art world. Each recommender nominated one artist (or team of artists) whose work showed outstanding quality and reflected various current trends. Next, after thoroughly reviewing the portfolios of the eight nominated artists and visiting their studios for an interview, the team of distinguished judges selected the four finalists who are participating in the exhibition: Kim Eull, Back Seung Woo, Ham Kyungah, and the team of mixrice (Cho Ji Eun and Yang Chul Mo). The four finalists will present their new works in Gallery 1 and 2 of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul. Finally, in October, the judges will conduct a second review based on the results of the exhibition, and announce the winner of the 2016 Korea Artist Prize.

Visitors to Gallery 1 and 2 will surely be astonished to see the latest creations of these incredible artists. In Gallery 1, for example, Kim Eull has constructed a life-size two-story building that people can enter and explore. Blurring the boundary between the real and virtual, the interior of the building includes a replica of the artist's studio, allowing visitors to observe firsthand the process of artistic creation. Hence, the world of the artist collides with our own world in an explosion of thoughts and ideas, perhaps represented by the approximately 1,450 glittering stars that are drawn in the gallery, forming a small galaxy.

Installed in the open space of Gallery 2 is the works of Back Seung Woo, showing his diverse attempts to shatter the formal limitations and rigid interpretative frames of the medium of photography. By altering the brightness and color of certain parts of his photos from various locations, or rearranging the photos from their original order, Back recalibrates the audience's reception of the works, inspiring a wealth of new meanings and possibilities.

Gallery 2 features the works of Ham Kyungah and mixrice, all of which deal with various forms of immigration, from the movement of people for their own survival to the differences between political, economic, social, and cultural systems. Famous for her embroidery works made by North Korean crafts people, Ham Kyungah presents sculpture, installation, and performance on the themes of defecting and settling. Meanwhile, mixrice addresses the social phenomena of incessant movement, where people especially migrant workers, who are invisible to Korean society are forced to continually move because of their inability to secure a steady job, education, or income. To examine these issues, mixrice directly collaborated with different groups of immigrant workers to produce a variety of works (e.g., installations, murals, videos), including an installation made with dirt that was dug from an actual redeveloped neighborhood.


 

Kim Eull

Kim Eull (b. 1954) expresses his mind, body, and soul through his drawings. Transcending narrow definitions and formal limitations, Kim generates a wide spectrum of drawings that freely traverse the boundaries between painting, sculpture, and installation. Although he studied metal crafts, Kim first drew attention for his paintings. Then in 2002, he began his drawing project, creating a series of works that emit spectacular and explosive energy. As compared to other types of art, drawings allow for relatively more freedom and flexibility, while also inducing a more instantaneous physical response. Furthermore, it is possible to produce a great many drawings within a limited time. Kim's drawings are the result of his sensitivity to the wide world, which he confronts with every fiber of his being. His drawings are nothing less than the blood that flows through his veins, providing fuel for his entire body. This vivacious energy emerges from the mind of Kim Eull and flows down through his fingertips and out into the world. Receiving stories and ideas from the world around him, he sifts them through his spiritual filter, thus transforming the small cosmos of his surroundings into a big portrait.

Twilight Zone Studio (2016), the life-size two-story building installed in the gallery, precariously straddles the border between reality and virtuality by recreating the artist's own studio, reminiscent of a movie set. This massive installation allows visitors to walk directly through the artist's studio, and thus experience the intense creative energy that emerges as the artist strives with life. Within the studio, people can examine approximately 1,450 drawings that are displayed on a 27.5 meter wall. Like stars in the abyss of the universe, the drawings radiate against the deep darkness, forming their own galaxy. Kim Eull's drawings can be seen as traces of his spirit flowing out from his body, evidencing his various collisions with the world around him. Together, these thousands of traces form a detailed diagram, enabling us to interpret the operational principles of the drawing machine, Kim Eull. At the same time, they also serve as a self-portrait providing a full-length view of the artist.

 

Back Seung Woo

Back Seung Woo (b. 1973) once said that, in this era characterized by the inundation of digital images, taking a photograph is a meaningless act, like shooting a water gun underwater. It has been some time since idealistic values of authenticity and capturing the moment were etched onto the tombstone of art history. But still, Back Seung Woo is a contemporary artist who studied photography and who is highly fluent in the language of photography. He does not so much capture images as collect them. By manipulating images that float on the surface of photography and reconfiguring the matrix of their meaning, he reveals the ambiguous border between reality and unreality, existence and virtuality, and the visible and invisible. For example, his elaborate photographs of a miniature city force the viewer to question the nature of reality. He also evokes irony by revealing the true reality hidden in the surreal landscape of North Korea, which looks like a giant movie set. Through visual manipulation or rearrangement, he also elicits new interpretations of HD photographs that are distributed by North Korea as propaganda, or a collection of snapshots representing a person's memories. In these and other ways, Back Seung Woo is constantly seeking to surpass the limits of photography by opening diverse new possibilities of meaning and expression.

Back Seung Woo has said that he considers himself to be a picture-grapher, and he is constantly striving to break away from the traditional roles of a photographer. He collects numerous images, erases their contexts, reprocesses them, and thus categorizes them in new ways. Recognizing the limits and impossibilities of taking standard photographs, he instead emphasizes his role as a collector of images that are floating around, online and offline, which he picturizes by adding new meaning. To create his new works for this exhibition Framing from Within, Betweenless, and Wholeness, he gathered photographs from various public archives, which had been previously categorized and arranged according to strict standards. By enlarging or enhancing parts of these photos, he effectively decolorized their meaning and context, eventually eliciting errors from multilayered interpretations. The accumulation of these errors results in the construction of a new archive with a completely different context. For Colorless, Back borrowed the Trivision format (billboards made from rotating panels) from commercial advertising, in order to cast doubts on the supposedly absolute and objective standards of shading (i.e., grayscale) and brightness (i.e., zone five of brightness scale) 

 

Ham Kyungah

Ham Kyungah (b. 1966) persistently challenges the rules and taboos of society by penetrating the hard shell of reality and infusing the hidden gaps with contradictions and absurdities. Borrowing motifs from her own daily encounters with reality, she embarks on artistic projects that require great perseverance and long hours of hard work. For one prolonged project, she stole various small items from museum shops and cafes around the world as an incisive parody of the shameful history of imperialism. She also gleaned discarded items from the private home of a former president of Korea, and used them to create a powerful metaphor of the tragedy of Korean contemporary history. Perhaps her most famous project began when she found a flyer of North Korean propaganda that had drifted to her house, which inspired her to begin an illicit communication with embroiderers in North Korea. In such ways, Ham Kyung-Ah diligently exposes to the rough layers of meaning that are hidden within the ostensibly smooth surface of reality.

Ham always seems to be advancing towards an invisible or unpredictable goal. The captivating aesthetics of her works often serve as bait; it is up to the viewer to discern the keen cultural, social, and political issues as well as the absurdity hidden beneath the lovely surface appearance. For instance, a certain aesthetic sense is conveyed from a seemingly ordinary display cabinet, but the exhibited goods have all been stolen from various locales. Likewise, beautiful embroidery works with brilliant colors are the result of her illegal transactions and interactions with North Korean crafts people.

For this exhibition, she presents new works on the themes of defecting and settling. Around the world, people who are trapped within social and political systems that threaten their freedom and survival make daring and desperate escapes, often involving extreme dangers that the average person cannot even imagine. Ham has previously provided financial support for North Korean defectors and documented their perilous journeys, and she had been planning to create an art project for this exhibition based on these endeavors. After many twists and turns, however, it was determined that this project would have to remain unfinished. But the project is still represented in the exhibition by the closed steel shutters that are installed in one wall, as well as the noises that generally signal an emergency. The exhibition also includes a miniature soccer field that is covered with abstract patterns of brilliant colors. These colors are the traces of a performance by a North Korean defector, a boy who happens to be a promising young soccer player. He created the bursts of color by kicking around a soccer ball smeared with various paints. Finally, the white streamlined sculptures in the exhibition are enlarged areas of a camouflage pattern, which is typically used to hide from the eyes of the enemy. Here, however, the patterns lose their function as camouflage, becoming more like frozen monuments.

 

mixrice (Cho Ji Eun, Yang Chul Mo)

Working together as Mixrice, Cho Ji Eun (b. 1975) and Yang Chul Mo (b. 1977) have engaged in a number of direct collaborations with immigrant workers, who exist like shadows within Korean society. mixrice's art projects are realized in diverse forms, ranging from photographs and videos to cartoons and murals, or even the presentation of a festival. Rather than simply criticizing the poverty or oppression of immigrants, Cho and Yang employ a multilateral approach to address diverse situations faced by today's immigrants. Their works investigate the trajectory, process, and result of immigration, as well as the memories of immigrants. Their first major project occurred in 2006, when they collaborated with the community of immigrants working for the furniture factories in Maseok. In supporting the autonomous expressions and cultural activities of the workers, they even built a factory system where artists and immigrants could work together. From seemingly innocuous beginnings, such as the immigration process of various plants that have been abandoned due to urbanization and redevelopment, their works expand to tell the stories of Asian people who have been forced to immigrate after being caught in the turmoil of recent history. Their works remain perpetually in progress.

In this exhibition, mixrice introduces new works related to various forms of immigration, unveiling the people (and plants) who are hidden in the unique social system of Korea. Today, Koreans are constantly vying for the chance to immigrate, whether it be for a job, education, wealth, or retirement. To do so, they must discard all memories of a certain space, and reject any hope of forming the relationships that come with settlement. mixrice follows the path of these people who are unable to settle, as well as the plants that are deprived of time. In the process, they question the significance of accumulated time and time left behind, which people tend to overlook. In Korea, the primary example of relocation (a condensed form of immigration) is the redevelopment of neighborhoods. mixrice took dirt from one redevelopment site and presented it in the exhibition space as the foundation for a house. Also, the shapes of plants collected from abandoned neighborhoods appear as graffiti on the walls of the gallery. Finally, their new video The Vine Chronicle considers the vestiges of plants that have been trans-planted by various means.

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