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PRIVATE VIEW THURSDAY 8 JANUARY 2009
ROKEBY is pleased to present Lost and Found, an exhibition curated by Jiyoon Lee.
The introduction of Western Modern art and Modernist aesthetics to Korea in the early part of the 20th Century led to the division in the art world between those who held on to the traditional East Asian cultural values, and those who embraced Western Modernist values. Although the former dominated the art world in the first part of the twentieth century, it was the latter group that prevailed in the post-war years; a time that was characterised by rapid recovery and industrialisation alongside an almost blind following of Western culture and values. This waning of the traditional art values inevitably led to a decline in knowledge and the practice of cultural values and aesthetics well known to previous generations. However, with the advent of contemporary art in the 1990s, Korea saw the re-discovery and re-application of the traditional cultural values and aesthetics by a younger generation of artists, albeit mediated through sensibilities that were profoundly different from the earlier generation of artists.
In Lost and Found, curator Jiyoon Lee examines how the forgotten elements of traditional art and aesthetics have been rediscovered and employed by contemporary Korean artists, their impact on contemporary artistic practice and how these rediscovered elements are presented to an increasingly international audience.
One of the leading experts in both East and Western contemporary art, Jiyoon Lee has curated numerous high-profile and large scale international exhibitions in Europe and East Asia, including Fantasy Studios (A Foundation, Liverpool 2008), Irony & Gesture (Kukje, Seoul, 2008), Good Morning Mr. June Paik (Korean Cultural Centre, London 2008), Welcome Choi Jeong Hwa (Wolverhampton Art Museum, 2007), Seoul Until Now (Charlottenborg Exhibition Hall, Copenhagen, 2005) and London Underground (Taipei Fine Art Museum 2002). Her contributions are now recognized as providing a major role between bridging the art scenes of East and West. Lee is currently working on her Ph.D. dissertation at The Courtauld Institute of Art; The impact of globalization for Korea/Japan since 1989.
Lost and Found a symposium led by Lee will be held at The Courtauld Institute of Art in March 2009.
Artists include Han Keryoon, Hong Young In, Kyung Jeon, Lee Lee Nam, Lee Gil Woo and Yee Sookyung.
Kyung Jeon's series of work are painted on the traditional support of Korean rice paper; drawing their influences from disparate sources such as children's fairytales, traditional Korean genre painting, and the world of Hieronymus Bosch, Jeon's narratives are both allegorical and fantastical. In her Very Best Sculptures, Yee Sookyung produces a list of physical attributes of human anatomy, all of the options being recongnisable as being taken from depictions of various divinities through culture and history. Members of the public across various cities are then invited to select their favoured attributes, the results are then correlated and a statue devised from the favourite characteristics.
The origins of Hong Young In's recent work are snapshots taken during the artist's travels. At first glance, the images appear to be painted but it soon becomes clear that they are constructed images made by an elaborate process of sewing that transforms architectural monuments
into flat images.
Lee Lee Nam and Han Keryoon both utilize digital technology to respectively introduce new meaning to Classical art and question traditional roles of the artist. Rather than parody traditional works in his videos Lee Lee Nam comments on the spirit of the original classical image whilst animating them with new meaning and imbuing them with contemporary commentary. Han Keryoonís video A Study on the Embarrassment of Nudity investigates the relationship between the traditional life model, artist and viewer.
Lee Gil Woo's paintings utilise iconic images from Western Pop culture and Eastern classical art, overlaying them and adding a physical layer of intricate incense burn marks. Thus, depending on the way the viewer connects with the work either a Western icon or Eastern art or intricate burn marks are seen.
The selected artists have exhibited widely in biennials and venues such as the Busan Biennale, the Seoul Museum of Art, Kukie Gallery, Seoul, the Guangdong Museum of Art, the Samsung Museum of Art, the Taipei Fine Art Museum, the Gwangiu Biennale of Art and the Smithsonian Art Museum. Full CVs of each artist are available to download on the exhibitions page of the website.