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00707012
2012.02
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KOREAN

Contemporary Art Exhibit Helps to Interpret the Times  Translated by Artists of the 2011 Int’l Residency Program

The Translated exhibition, featuring the works by artists who participated in the 2011 International Residency Exchange Program of the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), was simultaneously presented at the Korea Foundation Cultural Center Gallery and Changdong Art Studio of MOCA, from November 18-December 10, 2011.

As part of the MOCA’s international art exchange programs, participated by six art institutions in the four countries of New Zealand, Germany, France, and Australia, the exhibition displayed the works created by 11 Korean and foreign artists during their two- to three-month stay abroad. The exhibition was designed to introduce the artists’ working processes as well as their finished artworks. In addition, a special lecture conducted in conjunction with the exhibition attracted considerable interest to enhance the public’s understanding of contemporary art.

Promotion of Contemporary Art

Most people believe that contemporary art is too difficult to understand. So the majority of visitors to the Translated exhibition might have come to the venues with such a preconception, but after looking around the variety of works on display they seemed to realize that the expressive techniques of contemporary art are more diverse and creative than what they had previously thought.

현대미술관 Thus they left with fresh ideas about contemporary artworks, especially experimental works integrating different genres of art.
The exhibition provided an opportunity to have a glimpse of the latest trends in contemporary art through a diversity of works, including Drama No. 6 by Oh Yong-seok, who has experimented transcending the borders between reality and imagination through the use of photographs, videos, video collages, and films; Weather Pong by Lee Zune, who has worked with diverse fields of interactive art that combine visual art with music, literature with technology, and audiovisual installation with digital performance; and Fractus by Jeena Shin, who has created geometric scenes with mural works of delicate and complex elements.

The other participating artists included Kim Bom, Mohammed El Mourid, Choi Jong-ha, Nadine Rennert, Lee Jae-hyung, Matthias Scholten, and Hong Ki-won. The exhibition showed how these artists “translated into visual language” their experiences from exposure to foreign countries and cultures as well as their thoughts and feelings about working with people with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

The International Residency Exchange Program of the Changdong Art Studio of MOCA, which was launched in 2005, has contributed to the enhancement of creative capabilities of Korean and foreign artists. The program has so far provided 76 artists with an opportunity to spend time and work overseas in cooperation with 11 leading art institutions in nine countries. In this way, the participating artists have introduced various aspects of contemporary art to other countries through close interaction with local artists.

In particular, the foreign artists who stayed in Korea had a chance to personally experience the culture and arts of Korea while sharing time and exchanging ideas with local artists and residents. Because the artists were required to create works with materials available in their new environment and during a specified period of time, the works presented by the 11 artists are characterized by improvisation, mobility, and localization.

Appreciation of Contemporary Art

In contemporary art, as in all other fields of the arts, you can see as much as you know. Therefore, a supplemental lecture was conducted on November 26, under the title of “How to Appreciate Contemporary Art,” to offer guidance on art museums and galleries where contemporary art can be appreciated and how to properly understand artworks.

In her lecture, Choi Eun-joo, director of the MOCA’s Department ofProject Development, said that in order to understand contemporary art, it is necessary to properly understand the objective of the museum and the purpose of the exhibition, rather than simply looking at works on exhibit. When you can see the significance of the exhibition space and
the objectives of the event organizers, you will have a far better chance to enjoy the exhibition as well as understand the individual works on display.

sThe culturally advanced countries, such as Britain, France, and the United States, have long made substantial investment to open world-renowned art galleries. They say the 21st century is an era of culture wars. This means a nation can take a leap forward to join the ranks of advanced countries when its people have a refined eye for culture and the arts. Ms. Choi emphasized that an art exhibition should be understood from the context of “interpreting the times.” Therefore, she said, it is important for galleries to organize exhibitions dealing with socially relevant themes, if they are to perform greater roles in society.

Korea, with its 5,000-year history, can become a cultural powerhouse when its art galleries play a proper role. To that end, art curators and those engaged in culture and the arts are exerting considerable efforts. Now is the time for us to understand the role of art galleries in modern society as a window on our society and times, and to have a fresh perception as to what to see and how to see..

Lee Yong-kyu Freelance Writer

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