We are all descendants of stars. The basic elements that make up the human body—hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, and calcium—are the same basic elements that make up the earth and the universe. This latest scientific analysis is in line with the religious belief that man was created out of clay and god’s breath, born from dust to return to dust. In the end, science and religion both denote that humans and all other living things originate from star dust.
Ironically, humans, noble creatures of cosmological descent, merely boast of their meager civilization over some thousand years, forget their majestic bearing, and split into factions to bicker and brawl. Thrown in a cold-blooded battlefield of survival and competition, feeble individuals keep their eyes wide open and wary of possible threats, taking cautious steps to stay alive. Nevertheless, no matter how much caution we take, we often sink into a pit, get lost in the dark woods, or sometimes, fall straight down a bottomless cliff.
Only in the face of a situation beyond their capacity do infinitely weak humans raise their heads and eyes to the heavens in despair. They look into the infinite sky stretched above them, the feast of flickering stars spread across the dark universe, and they finally recognize their origin, acknowledge the futility of human desire, and kneel before the magnificent grandeur. Looking at the billions of stars lighting the vast universe, we realize human civilization has still much more to fathom and begin to reflect on our lives.
Contemporary artists observe other people as they would stars in the sky to understand the essence of human existence and to remind themselves that our existence is not a mere coincidence, that we share the essence of the infinite cosmos, and that we are exalted and intelligent beings who will one day return to a cosmic element.
The works presented in this exhibition are not dedicated to a certain group—they are coveted stories of people we run into and love. Selected artists unfold these stories through a variety of media including painting, photography, sculpture, video, and sound. Their works expand our narrow field of vision beyond the spinning wheel of survival, loosen our tightly strained tension and nervousness, and guide us to discover the meaning of life within mundane trivialities. They make us realize yet again that, as insignificant and minute as our existence may be, we are one and the same with the stars that light up the universe.
Comprised of 23 works by 15 artists including paintings, photos, sculptures, videos, and installations, A Day for Counting Stars: The Story of You and Me illuminates the trivial and quotidian stories of our lives. These works have been carefully selected among the 8,100 pieces in the MMCA collection to serve the theme of the exhibition. Through the familiar stories of people around us, the audience will be able to relate to the notoriously vague and abstruse world of contemporary art. This exhibition will be the first step towards actualizing the vision of the MMCA Cheongju, which aims to be a mecca, a collector and preserver of topnotch international contemporary artworks, as well as a museum beloved by the local audience of Chungcheongbuk-do and Cheongju, delivering diverse and interesting exhibitions.