Catastrophe and Recovery aims to examine the global COVID-19 pandemic from a contemporary perspective and share ideas for the future based on explorations of and reflections on the present. Developing an exhibition around the theme of a pandemic that is still taking place posed a complex mix of difficulties. Yet we believe that it is meaningful for us to record and reflect on this unpredictable pandemic that has persisted for a long time now, and to speak out artistically about the effects and changes that the current disaster has brought about for individuals and societies.
Consisting of five sections in all, the exhibition starts by examining from multiple perspectives the signs and phenomena that have accompanied the eruption and spread of the COVID-19 virus. Through artworks that record and reinterpret the social and individual events associated with the pandemic, the participating artists portray the ways in which the virus and human beings have coexisted and people have gone about their lives under catastrophic circumstances. In Korea, one of the defining terms of the pandemic era has been jipkok, or 'shut-in' - a phenomenon that has physical distanced people from one another while ironically making us sense how connected we are. The reality facing socially disadvantaged people who are unable to stay isolated even during times isolation is called for forces us to confront the inequality of catastrophes. Numbers and Distance also hold an important role in pandemic situations. Numbers provide a standard to reflect the present while also possessing multiple meanings beyond the mere information within statistics, data, and functional relations. The COVID-19 virus has brought the forward dash of civilization and our crowded cities to a halt, forcing us to contemplate a life beyond inertia.
Faced with a form of disaster that is distinct from the plagues of the past, humankind has become aware that the climate, ecosystem, and our forward-driving lives no longer exist or function in the same way as before. In this new reality, we see that the time has come for us to reflect on the present; re-establish the relationship between human beings and nature; and develop a cognitive framework that will allow us to imagine future life in new ways.