The exhibition sheds new light on the world of the artist Yiso Bahc, who died in 2004, focusing on his works, archives, drawings, and interviews. In 1985, after graduating from the Pratt Institute in New York, Yiso Bahc established and operated an alternative exhibition space called “Minor Injury” in Brooklyn area, and drawn attention from both domestic and foreign art worlds with his various activities. After returning to Korea in 1995, he has given fresh vitality to the entire Korean art scene through his unique artworks and educational activities. In 2003, he was selected as the representative artist of the Korean Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. However, he suddenly died in 2004 while he actively engaged in activities, and brought the sorrow to the art world. This exhibition consists of layers of records, interviews, videos, drawings, and artwork centered on 21 volumes of the artist’s notes (1984-2003) donated by the bereaved family to MMCA in 2014. Through his major works and the interviews with those who remember him, this exhibit will deeply deal with the process in which the artist’s ideas are first formed, embodied and varied, and the concerns and the critical mind flowing behind.
Born in Busan with the given name Cheolho Park, Bahc received his BFA and MFA respectively from Hong-ik University, Seoul, and Pratt Institute, New York. After graduation, he worked as director of Minor Injury, a non-profit alternative space for artists in Brooklyn, using the name Mo Bahc to indicate the anonymity of his identity ("Mo" is the equivalent of "John Smith" in Korean). During this period he published several articles on art criticism and postmodernism in Korean journals. Bahc returned to Korea in 1995 to teach at SADI (Samsung Art & Design Institute), changing his name again to Yiso, and focusing on installation works and education. While his works produced in the US focus mainly on personal identity and communication as an immigrant, later installations display an acute understanding of the issues of identity, Korean (and industrialized) society, and the impossibility of communication. After leaving SADI he taught at Korean National University of Arts and Kaywon School of Art and Design, and exhibited at the Venice Biennale and Yokohama Triennale, etc. at his studio. He died on April 26, 2004 from a sudden heart attack in his studio.