Korean Artist Prize 2020

[CULTURAL ISSUE] National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea

2020.12.4 -2021.4.4
KIM Minae, Lee Seulgi, JUNG Yoonsuk, CHING Heeseung

Since 2012, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) and SBS Foundation have co-sponsored the annual Korea Artist Prize, providing support to outstanding visual artists who are using innovative aesthetics to address the most compelling social issues of our time. Each year, four artists/teams are awarded funding for their artistic productions, which are then exhibited at MMCA. Now in its ninth year, the Korea Artist Prize has assumed a leading role in promoting new discourse and direction in Korean art, and thus continues to garnering more attention and acclaim with each passing year.

At the end of 2019, four finalists were chosen for the Korea Artist Prize 2020: Kim Minae, Lee Seulgi, Jung Yoonsuk, and Chung Heeseung. These four artists were selected for sponsorship after being recommended and screened by a panel of curators and other art experts, both domestic and international. Known for twisting the familiar structures of life in her sculptures and installations, Kim Minae presents a new work that uses the physical space of the museum to raise doubts about the conventional conditions of art and exhibitions. Based in France since the 1990s, Lee Seulgi produces sculptures, installations, and videos with an emphasis on formal aesthetics. In her new installation, Lee incorporates elements of traditional architecture and folk art to transform the exhibition space. While both Kim Minae and Lee Seulgi utilize formal aesthetics to transform our recognition and experience of the museum’s space, Jung Yoonsuk and Chung Heeseung provide the opportunity and conditions for deep contemplation on life and humanity. In his video installation, artist and film director Jung Yoonsuk explores “what humanity is” today through the stories and choices of individuals responding to our changing times. Finally, Chung Heeseung combines her primary media of photography with text and music in a dual installation that infuses the exhibition space with the concerns of life and art that she shares with fellow artists.

In order to reflect diverse perspectives amid the changing art environment and to encourage continued global interest for Korean art, the members of the recommendation committee and judging committee are newly selected each year, which also includes international art professionals. There are a total of five members on the judging committee for Korea Artist Prize 2020: Lolita Jablonskienė (chief curator at Lithuanian National Gallery of Arts), Patrick Flores (professor of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines, artistic director of Singapore Biennale 2019), Christopher Lew (curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art), Lee Youngchul (professor at Kaywon University of Art & Design), and Youn Bummo (director of MMCA, ex officio).

The final winner of the Korea Artist Prize 2020 will be announced in February 2021, following the second round of screening during the exhibition period. The artist will be named as the “2020 Artist of the Year” and awarded an additional grant of KRW 10 million. In addition, SBS will produce and air a documentary on contemporary art that sheds light on the four artists.

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul
30 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea
+82 2 3701 9500

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