| [CULTURAL ISSUE] National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea
2021. 5. 22 – 8. 1
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA , Director Youn Bummo) is unveiling from 22 May to 1 August Catastrophe and Recovery, an exhibition aimed at examining the global COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of contemporary artists, at the MMCA Seoul.
Catastrophe and Recovery aims to examine the impacts of the pandemic on individuals and societies as a whole in the perspective of contemporary artists, while at the same time, reflect on the meaning of life through art to enable the exhibition to serve as an opportunity for healing and recovery by extending a sense of comfort to the audience.
35 Korean and international artists who take part in the exhibition take an in depth view of the eruption and spread of the COVID 19 virus amid the halt in people’s daily lives due to the pandemic, each with their own perspective. They record and reinterpret the social and individual events associated with the pandemic. Catastrophe and Recovery consists of five sections “Signs and Symptoms,” “Jipkok, Homebound Together,” “Numbers and Distance,” “Outside Here, Inside There,” and“Daily Life Deferred, Contemplations during a Pause.” Artists such as Francis Alÿs, Liam Gillick, Do Ho Suh, Lee Bae, Oh Wonbae, Sunny Kim, and Taeyoon Choi will showcase their new works under the theme of COVID 19, while many others including Eija Liisa Ahtila, Eun Rim Ro, Anicka Yi, Gillian Wearing, Tatsuo Miyajima, Young Joo Lee, and Candida Höfer are also taking part. Meanwhile, a “satellite project”will be held in and beyond the galleries to seek an alternative method of exhibitions and the changing roles of museums amid the current pandemic crisis. There will also be numerous experimental projects utilizing diverse platforms including location based audio guides, incenses that audiences and take home, immersive tactual tools to enjoy the exhibition with as well as online streaming.
Section 1: Signs and Symptoms, Syndicate (a group of photographers), Joseph Beuys, Anicka Yi, Jeon In kyung, Oh Wonbae, Sung Neung Kyung, and Jiana Kim will present artworks that record and reinterpret some of the signs of the novel infectious disease that has emerged since the arrival of the modern era, as well as the individual and social phenomena that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. Historically, the pandemic of infectious diseases have taken a heavy toll on the lives of humanity ranging from politics, economics to industries as a whole. As the humanity moved from the industrial and modern eras, infectious diseases began to emerge in ever shorter cycles, and today we came to realize that the relentless march of humankind has boomeranged back upon us with the onset of a pandemic.
Section 2: Jipkok, Homebound Together is participated by Andrea Zittel, Sunny Kim, Liu Wa, Jinhwon Hong, The Moojin Brothers, Jeamin Cha, and Francis Alÿs. The Korean term Jipkok has now come to represent the pandemic era. People who voluntarily choose to isolate themselves by refraining from going outside to avoid the risks of infection have resulted in a physical distance among people. At the same time, it has also ironically made us be aware of how inter connected we all are by being connected virtually.
Section 3: Numbers and Distance, Liam Gillick, Tatsuo Miyajima, Jiwon Lee (archetypes), Taeyoon Choi, and Kim Beom deal with the crucial information and signs that are implied by numbers amid the pandemic era. Numerical information such “new daily confirmed cases,” “number of people who have been discharged from quarantine,” “fatalities,” “global daily tally,” and “social distancing level” are now serving as a barometer for how the COVID 19 situation looks like each day.
Section 4: Outside Here, Inside There, participated by Gillian Wearing, Do Ho Suh, Hyein Lee, Candida Höfer, Thomas Struth, and Seungmo Seo, aims to showcase the boundary and implications of public and private spaces as well as their changing roles. The COVID 19 has literally put the entire world to a halt. While over a year has passed since the onset of the pandemic, nothing not our cities, airports, parks, plazas and art museums has not yet been able to fully return to how it was before. The contact less lifestyle has only further cemented the new boundaries and gaps in physical and temporal spaces, forcing us to perceive our environments in different ways.
Section 5: Daily Life Deferred, Contemplations during a Pause, participated by Eun Nim Ro, Jonathan Horowitz, Bong Joon ho, Young Joo Lee, Ji Hye Yeom, Eija Liisa Ahtila, and Lee Bae, aims to reflect on our life while contemplating on the spirit of the era that is essential for the Earth and its humanity. he pandemic has forced us into a long pause in which our daily lives have come to a halt. With our daily life deferred as well, we need to look back on the harm that has been inflected by people over numerous years on the plant, which we must share with non-human life, and to contemplate new ways for co-existence between humans and nature.
Last but not least, the satellite project that aims to seek an alternative way for museums to hold exhibitions and their changing roles amid the current crisis, sheds light on the values and conditions for producing contemporary art during the time of crisis through the project involving three young curators. Throughout the year of 2020, museums were forced to close their doors to prevent the spread of COVID 19. At a time when the general function and operation of museums have come to a halt, the satellite project hopes to design a new platform where audiences can still enjoy exhibitions as well as an alternative where people can go beyond the conventional ways of viewing works of art, stereotypes and physical limitations. Cus toms that are being Re written, curated by Nam Sun woo involves an audio guide program of reading (or listening) to exhibitions, incenses that can be taken home, and tactical tools to enjoy exhibitions, aims to challenge the conventional customs of ways people visit art museums. Utilizing an on line streaming video project titled Permanent Collection Kwon Tae hyun wishes to question the function of art museums that are a symbolic institution of rational human civilization Resonating Verbs, curated by Kim Sin jae, displays video and sound projects that keenly target the boundaries of disability and non disability as well as normality and abnormality that have been collapsed by the discomfort resulting from the pandemic crisis.
Director Youn Bummo of MMCA elaborated “the COVID 19 pandemic calls for our collaborated efforts to achieve social community through art,” and added that he hopes the exhibition “serves as an opportunity to ponder upon the changes and future of our lives and to seek comfort and hope through the works that have been created by a group of diverse artists.”
30 Samcheong-ro, Sogyeok-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea
+82 2 3701 9674