#501. Exhibition Welcome and Introduction
Welcome to MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2023: Jung Yeondoo – One Hundred Years of Travels!
MMCA Hyundai Motor Series is an annual program organized by MMCA and sponsored by Hyundai Motor Company. It was introduced in 2014 as an effort to broaden the horizons of Korean contemporary art and enhance the international stature of major Korean artists.
This year marks the tenth series to date, and the selected artist for 2023 is Jung Yeondoo.
The title of this exhibition, “One Hundred Years of Travels,” is a reference to the migration of Koreans to Mexico in 1905.
At that time, over a thousand Koreans left the port of Jemulpo in Incheon and sailed for 40 days before reaching Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.
From there, they split across 25 different plantations, living lives of drudgery as they farmed henequen in what amounted to indentured servitude.
Most of those who immigrated to Mexico at the time did not return to Korea after their four-year contract ended.
As an artist, Jung Yeondoo has focused on the stories of individual people like fragments within the grand narratives.
He adopted this diaspora history of marginalized and forgotten Koreans in Mexico as the central theme for this exhibition.
But his focus is not on exploring the history of hardships suffered by Koreans or on dredging up the particulars of their difficult lives.
Instead, he attempts a multilayered exploration of today’s contexts, and the meaning that movements, diasporas, and foreignness hold in a 21st-century environment where international migration has become a universal phenomenon.
He approaches the topic of “migration” as a realm of possibility that connects different beings across spatial boundaries.
As part of this, he encourages us to imagine the foreign spatial and temporal experiences that arise as different cultures clash, and to contemplate the people and things that travel and translate across borders.
The exhibition includes five works of art that blend installations with videos, music, performances, and more.
It is an experience designed to encourage viewers to relate to the unknown through the artist’s characteristic hybrid artistic style.
So let’s begin now!