■ 10-Year Path of Korea Artist Prize
The Artist of the Year exhibitions held by MMCA between 1995 and 2010 developed into the award system Korea Artist Prize in 2012 as SBS Foundation began providing extensive support for Korean artists. Held ten times up to 2021, Korea Artist Prize has seen a total of 40 artists shortlisted, drawing high expectations and intense interest in the art world. This year, as the program marks its tenth year, we attempt to look into its achievements and revisit the meaning of the Korea Artist Prize system in our society and art world.
Through the video archive of the Prize that faithfully has documented the past exhibitions, this archival project poses the following questions: Why was the Prize established, and why should it be continued? How does the Prize affect the Korean art world and, more broadly, Korean society? Furthermore, we discuss the gaps and crossing points between contemporary art and our everyday life, thereby reflecting on the meaning of contemporary art in our society and the role of the museum as a platform to introduce different artistic practices to audiences.
This archival project unfolds across three galleries (Gallery 2, 3, and 4) at MMCA Seoul. Exploring the creative processes of the preceding ten years of Korea Artist Prize to look at our world, this exhibition proposes various ways of seeing our society for viewers, through the participating artists, their artworks, and interviews with those who have contributed to the exhibitions.
Especially, Gallery 4 is configured as a lounge-like gathering space, proposing a role for artists of presenting new and critical perspectives amid the repetition of everyday life. Displaying catalogues and other materials from previous Korea Artist Prize exhibitions, it is designed as a space for perusing archives and gathering. Here, at a variety of workshops throughout the exhibition period featuring artists and related figures from previous prize years, various issues faced by Korean society and artists throughout the prize’s history and the directions for the future of the Prize will be discussed. We will search for the most pressing issues to be considered currently within Korea Artist Prize, when seen as one of the country’s leading art systems and platforms, and the museum as an institution. And, through these discussion forums, we will improve the attitude of this system and institution in a direction that leads to solidarity over competition, and understanding and diversity over criticism.
■ Korea Artist Prize
Korea Artist Prize is an award system co-hosted by MMCA and SBS Foundation in 2012 to support, promote, and sponsor Korean artists who present new visions for Korean contemporary art. Korea Artist Prize has assumed a leading role in promoting new discourse and direction in Korean art and thus has continued to garner great attention and acclaim.
For judges, the program has invited renowned international experts as well as Korean professionals to reflect the various perspectives that exist in the ever-changing art environment and encourage global interest in Korean contemporary art.
MMCA and SBS Foundation also operate the ‘Korea Artist Prize Promotion Fund’ to support overseas projects of the artists selected through the Prize. The fund has sponsored: Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho’s exhibition at the Korea Pavilion of the Venice Biennale in 2015, Koo Donghee’s exhibition at Sharjah Biennale in 2017, Yee Sookyung’s exhibition at Sharjah Biennale in 2017, Chang Jia’s participation in the Atlantic Project (2017-2018), Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho’s solo exhibtion at Tate Liverpool in 2018, siren eun young jung’s exhibition at the Korea Pavilion of Venice Biennale in 2019, and Rhii Jewyo’s solo exhibition in New Castle, UK, in 2020. The fund has also supported other overseas projects by the participating artists including Na Hyun, Oh Inhwan, Ham Kyungah, Lim Minouk, Han Yang Ah, Jo Haejun, Gim Hong-sok, Shin Meekyoung, and Kim Kira.
*The Official Website of Korea Artist Prize: http://koreaartistprize.org