Park Chan-kyong is born in Seoul (1965) and has lived in the city. He had majored in Painting at the College of Fine Arts but after graduation, he has mainly written about art and curated exhibitions. His first solo exhibition in 1997 was titled Black Box: Memory of the Cold War Images (Kumho Museum of Art). From this show on, Park had dealt with the theme of the division of the Korean peninsula and the Cold War, amid relations with mass media or interests of politics and psychology. He worked mainly through photograph and video, such as Sets (2000), Power Passage (2004), Flying (2005), and Believe It Or Not (2018). Upon presenting Sindoan in 2008, he began directing feature films and short films on modernity of Korea through topics of Korean folk religion and shamanism. Such theme continued in Anyang, Paradise City (2010), Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits (2013), Citizen's Forest (2016). Park's recent work, Belated Bosal (2019), also touches upon contemporary disaster via an episode handed down in Buddhism. Not only being active as an artist, Park has also written essays on artists, art institutions, Minjung art and (post)modernism, and tradition. He has participated in the launching and editing of Forum A and journal BOL, as well. Park has been awarded the Hermès Foundation Missulsang (2004), the Golden Bear for Best Short Film of the Berlin International Film Festival (2011), the Grand Prize for a Korean Feature Film of the 12th Jeonju International Film Festival (2011) among others, and he was designated as the artist of MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2019. He had also curated the exhibition SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul 2014, Ghosts, Spies, and Grandmothers.
Gathering is a story of Korean art and disasters. In the aftermath of disaster or in the midst of disaster, which requires a systemic reflection on modernity, what kind of language can art put into practice? Before providing a conclusive answer, this exhibition examines the essential conditions of this question. Who constituted the modern/contemporary museum, and where and why? What does the ocean mean to us after the Sewol Ferry disaster? How can we represent invisible radioactivity? How are these questions connected to one another?
It is somewhat unexpected that the artist included the traditional Korean architecture and the story of Siddhartha Gautama's nirvana as subjects of the exhibition. He contrasts the humble architecture of the sansindang or chilsunggak of the countryside to the grandiose contemporary museum of art. He also touches on the episode of Siddhartha and his disciple to urge audiences to contemplate the meaning of disaster. Here, the contradictory values of each subject create a renewed relationship between them. Park embraces the diverse lexicons of paradox and irony, including “the redemption through mechanical instruments, the ritual that turns out to be comical, the sublime within the naïve faith in our blessings, and the natural beauty transcending disaster.” Through these aesthetic attempts, Gathering provides audiences with an opportunity to consider how we can discover a new source of companionship despite its rapid disappearance.
MMCA Hyundai Motor Series
MMCA Hyundai Motor Series, hosted by the MMCA and sponsored by the Hyundai Motor Company, is a ten-year art project that organizes an annual exhibition of established artists. Each year since 2014, the project has supported one artist who has established his/her own aesthetic world through diverse promotional programs. This project aims to introduce the current state of Korean contemporary art and its dynamic practices to a wide range of audiences.