East Contemporary

Ilmin Museum of Art „Foreverism: Endless Horizons“

Seoul, April 12 – June 23, 2024, https://ilmin.org

A show dealing with nostalgia and the never-ending „retro“ longing for something in time/space away from one’s current place. A craving that is also fuelled by media technology that allows us to share our attention between multiple places/times simultaneously. I am here, but I could be there, at least virtually.

The three floors of Ilmin Museum were densely populated with artworks, a lot of them time-based. The duration of the videos meant one had to either invest a lot of time, or just make choices, skip and skim the surface before moving on.

The show was able to successfully capture the above-mentioned state of mind from multiple angles. Given its prevalence in contemporary society, that also seeps into a prevalence in contemporary art, the selection of illustrative samples was probably more difficult than the preceding search.

Given how the show resonated with a feeling we all know, it was rather easy to „read“ and to get into the right state of mind to understand what meaning was conveyed. This, on the other hand brought about an air of normal-ness to the artworks, as if there were snapshots taken by one’s own mobile, or collages assembled from one’s own unused stationery stock lingering forgotten in the drawers of one’s desk. This brought the artist and the visitor closer, but it also lead to a so-what reaction. The juxtaposition of different angles gave partial answers, or better say, induced a deeper questioning, so that the so-what turned into a deeper so-what-does-this-mean and why. I think this was a sign that the show did its job and the whole amounted something more than a sum of its parts.

Some selected works:

Steve Bishop – Standard Ballad: Found footage of the Misha Bear in the Summer Olympics 1980 in Moscow.

Jeon Dawha 전다화: Set of small gouache paintings of found images.

Park Minha 박민하: Research-based video essays dealing with “time and space” topics in different disciplines. One video was first lecturing on the history theories connected to perception, followed by footage from a Hollywood film set depicting an Iraq village, something doubling both as a tourist attraction and military training ground.

Another video told a story from the perspective of dinosaur tailbone. Reminded me of the ‘life story of a coin’ that were popular hundred years ago and that are sometimes given as creative educational exercises to children. I am guessing this artist is already teaching and using it as an inspiration or if not then s/he should be.

Song Sejin 송세진: Mushroom video and glass mushrooms. I guess I liked the “tired” non-mushroom glass shapes hanging over the railing. The video obviously tried to convey another layer of background meaning to the aesthetic glass objects. There was some nice electronic music in the beginning, but later I gave up on it. A glass mushroom is a glass mushroom.

Cha Jiryang 차지량 – Wire Dancing: a simple zoom in/zoom out of a spider net  with a little fairy dancing in the air. If you imagined it, you saw it. Displayed on a smartphone screen. Everyday poetics.

Another work was pure nostalgia. Video of a sunset filmed from an airplane juxtaposed with a print of a man and women on the rooftop of the Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik building in Berlin Moabit watching a sunset behind Berlin’s Westhafen building. Nice memories of a fun artist residency in Berlin. What a nice life it was.

Yoon Yeongbin 윤영빈: Definitely a lover of stationery stores. Some assemblages of miscellaneous stationery items in plastic wrappers. And some paintings with similar motives. Animals, flowers, horses, longing … dreaming of a prince to come in a BMW and take her to his castle.

Hwang Minkyu 황민규: Visiting mother-in-law in Busan during the beginning of the corona pandemic.

Lee Eunsung 이유성: Sculptures by this artist were spread throughout the tree floors of the exhibition. Some plaster “shells” of human bodies with empty space inside where the cast body was previously. A missing body. And some woodcarvings of mundane objects and body parts. This one specifically reminded me of cookie/butter forms traditionally used in Germany, Netherlands etc. also utilized by contemporary artist Bert Scholten.

isvn: Video games and also a card-based RPG game. Somehow difficult for me in a museum setting. But someone played.

Hong Jinhwon 홍진훤: Photos from a holiday in Vladivostok, Russia. Nice photos.

Zheng Mahler: A Chinese remix version of the Japanse Ghost in the Shell manga with Xiaomi, Huawei and Lenovo ads plastered around the neon light soaked facades of a Hong Kong cityscape. The storyline was taking place mainly in the subtitles displayed in the left top corner, but it was secondary. The visual presence of the large LED wall with a doorway in the middle was what made the main impact. Was reminded of the last time I saw his/her/their work in Hong Kong, 8 years ago. This time their budget was bigger, color scheme looked similar.

IKEA ADDE chair in white, ₩15,000

Comments are closed.