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Posts Tagged ‘Nam June Paik’

Curator Tobias Berger talks about Korean contemporary art scene in 4 questions

Posted by artradar on September 20, 2010


SOUTH KOREA CONTEMPORARY ART INTERVIEW CURATOR

Art Radar Asia recently spoke with German-born curator Tobias Berger, who currently holds the position of Chief Curator at the Nam June Paik Art Center, about the Center’s exhibition “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain“. During this interview, Berger also revealed a few of his observations on living and working in the Korean art environment.

Korean art has always been in the shadow of Japanese and Chinese artistic success, often “dismissed as a mere conduit between the two mega cultures.” This may be because few of the local magazines, exhibition catalogues and other art texts produced on Korean contemporary art are available in English. As Berger states, “There are none. They’re all in Korean. There’s nothing really good in English.” And while the local art scene is perhaps not on par with what can be experienced in these neighbouring countries, Berger notes that the art that is being produced in Korea is of a very high quality, due to good art schools, a diversity of art spaces, talented pioneers and governmental support.

This Korean contemporary art sculpture was shown at "Korean Eye: Moon Generation".

'Shamoralta Shamoratha' (2007) by Inbai Kim was shown at "Korean Eye: Moon Generation" in 2009. Korean Eye was founded in 2009 as a way to support emerging Korean artists by providing international exhibition opportunities.

As a European who formerly lived and worked in the Hong Kong art scene, how do you find the South Korean art scene compares?

“The Seoul art scene is probably the most sophisticated art scene in Asia. It has really good independent spaces, good commercial galleries, interesting art schools and good museums. It has this whole pyramid of different art spaces, exhibition possibilities, and it has a lot of really good and wonderful artists. That level of depth and the level of different kinds of art spaces is incomparable. Certainly in Beijing [you] have galleries, but you don’t have any independent spaces, and in Tokyo it’s also very different.”

How do you keep up to date with the Korean art scene?

That is a problem because it’s all in Korean and it’s very difficult to keep up [with]. I mean, you just go to the 10-15 [art] spaces once a month … and you talk to your friends and your colleagues that go to the big exhibitions…. You just have to look at how it is. There was a [recent] survey show called “Bright Future” but it only had twelve artists.

Tell us about the art school system in Korea? How does it differ from other places?

It’s the most sophisticated [system] because it had some good pioneers [and] a lot of governmental help. [South Korea] has some good art schools and it has a lot of good artists that have studied overseas and come back. This allowed a lot of critical discourse and [there were] a lot of magazines. That allowed the art scene to grow well and in the right way.

Korean art is becoming popular with international collectors. “Korean Eye, for example, was shown at The Saatchi Gallery in London earlier this year. Can you tell us why you think this is happening now?

“Here in South Korea you don’t feel that there’s much happening. The Korean scene is nothing compared to what’s happening in China…. On the one side, these shows, where this is popular or that is popular, don’t really mean a thing. There is a lot of good art in South Korea and the quality of the art is really on a high level, because art education has been good for 15-20 years. A lot of people are educated in Europe and America and have very good support and certainly output good quality art…. I mean, you don’t want to buy or you don’t want to show an artist because he’s Korean, you want to show an artist because he’s a good artist.”

JAS/KN/HH

Related topics: Korean artists, interviews, Tobias Berger, curators

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Follow “The Penguin” to the mountain – Tobias Berger on the NJPAC show

Posted by artradar on August 24, 2010


KOREAN CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS EMERGING ARTISTS

The Penguin that goes to the Mountain“, an exhibition of contemporary art by young and emerging Korean artists, recently finished up this month at the Nam June Paik Art Center (NJPAC). It took the viewer on a journey from the ordered and well-known to the broken-up and disastrous. Embracing works beyond the visual arts, the exhibition presented practitioners that produced critical and demanding work often relating to the surreal and fictional. Below, Art Radar presents you with images from the exhibition and an interview with NJPAC curator Tobias Berger.

The Nam June Paik Art Center, established to celebrate and illuminate Nam June Paiks avant-garde spirit, finished running “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain” last week. The exhibition displayed various methods of expression, including the visual arts, stage productions, media, theatre and animated films from 23 emerging and relatively unknown artists and artist groups. These include:

Mano AHN, Sungeun CHANG, Eunphil CHO, Yeoja DDAN, Subin HEO, Intergate, Jaechoul JEOUNG, Dokyun KIM, Kimoon KIM, Minkyu KOH, Jihoi LEE, Jinwook MOON, Moowang MOON, Sohyun MOON, Adjong PARK, Seungwon PARK, post-EAT, Jinwoo RYU, Rhee SEI, Joonghyup SEO, Mongjoo SON, Hojun SONG, Vaemo, Donhwi YOUN

"The Penguin that goes to the Mountain", an exhibition held at Korea's Nam June Paik Center this year.

"The Penguin that goes to the Mountain", an exhibition held at Korea's Nam June Paik Art Center this year. Image courtesy of NJPAC.

Focusing on the concept of “intermedia”, the exhibition proposed imaginative alternative ways to look at artistic production. Deconstructing the art center’s existing space and previously defined exhibition criteria this exhibition pushed the boundaries of the working methodologies of all those involved in its preparation and reception – from the artists and curatorial and technical staff, to the gallery assistants, and even the audience.

The title comes from Werner Herzogs 2007 documentary film made in Antarctica called “Encounter at the End of the World. The film chronicles the story of a penguin that leaves its normal habitat for the unknown world of a mountain. The idea for the exhibition came from the fact that pioneering artists such as the late Nam June Paik dared to explore new territories, combining many often unrelated genres.

Art Radar Asia spoke to Tobias Berger, Chief Curator of Nam June Paik Art Center, to find out more about the exhibition.

What prompted “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain”? What is the mission of NJPAC and how does this show fit with that mission?

It was the need to show some young, edgy new work by professionals from different disciplines; the try out of new curatorial concepts by using some ideas from theater productions; to blur borders between the different disciplines. These are all the parts of the misson of what the Nam June Paik Art Center is showing. Paik wanted this to be ‘the house where his spirit lives on for a very long time’ and showing interdisciplinary young works is certainly Paik’s spirit.

Moon Moowang, 'Neurogenic Plything', 2010.

Moowang MOON, 'Neurogenic Plything', 2010. Image courtesy of NJPAC.

Can you tell us about how “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain” is organised? What are the themes?

We took a very strong curatorial approach to the exhibition and it’s basically a voyage from the rather clean and not minimal. The further you go through the exhibition, the more chaotic it becomes and the more difficult it becomes to navigate. There’s a chaotic room, where two walls in the middle are falling down and the works are very tied together … We tried to put in a more kind of theatric setting.

Are there styles or mediums which predominate in “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain”? Why do you think that is?

… we have sculpture to video to photography to big installations. As usual in contemporary art you do have quite a lot of videos.

Moon Sohyun, 'Poisoning of Light', 2007.

Sohyun MOON, 'Poisoning of Light', 2007. Image courtesy of NJPAC.

How did you select the artists for “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain”? What characteristics were you looking for?

I think we looked for artists that really went to the edge or over the edge. That is the idea of this penguin that goes to the mountain. It’s a penguin that leaves the others and just goes this way. We more collected different works. It was not a show where we selected ten artists and asked them to do new works. It was more a show where we saw certain works that fitted into the idea of ‘The Penguin’ or into our curatorial context.

Which of your artists has drawn the most interest at “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain”?

There are some controversial video works that are quite challenging. One is talking about the subject of sex, which is a little bit of an interesting subject in South Korea. The other one is an animated video, where [the subject] kind of begins to cut off her fingernails and then her fingertips and then her fingers. It’s an animation, but it’s also quite visual. I think these works are quite controversial, but also in a good way controversial.

Son Mongjoo, 'The Animals Were Gone', 2008.

Mongjoo SON, 'The Animals Were Gone', 2008. Image courtesy of NJPAC.

The artists in “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain” are all emerging or young artists. What problems do you see for young artists compared with older generation artists working today? In what ways are young artists fortunate, as compared with older artists?

They all have problems and challenges. It’s going to be interesting, how do we justify and how do we not justify them? How do we relate to the art of the older generation? How do we look at it and how do we look at the artist in their mid-career. How do we judge them? You need curators, writers and critics that can evaluate different types of art. Museums can be stiff and kick out the most avant-garde. Maybe because they’re not commercial, maybe they’re a bit too challenging, maybe they’re too critical. So it is the question of the entry into the galleries or the museums or the institutions. A lot of times, the most interesting artists don’t find galleries because if you’re a media artist or performance artist your work doesn’t sell as easily as a painter. But you’re still certainly a much more interesting artist than a certain painter. How do we find a way to deal with that problem? So it has nothing to do with older or younger. It has more to do with genres.

How do you find dealing or working with young artists as opposed to established artists?

They are certainly much more involved in the process and much more interested in what’s going on, more than the established artists that have done big shows in museums many times. For [the young artists], it’s the first time to do an institutional exhibition and that brings a certain tension, but it’s basically good tension that brings out new works and quite interesting work.

Does NJPAC intend to feature other works from students, graduates or emerging artists?

In [“The Penguin that goes to the Mountain”], we cared if the work fitted into the context of the exhibition. Certainly we didn’t care if it was a young artist or an established artist, or if he’s Asian or European. But sure, we will in the future invite students or just-freshly-graduated artists again.

Song Hojun, 'G.O.D.', 2009.

Hojun SONG, 'G.O.D.', 2009. Image courtesy of NJPAC.

Have there been any unusual, unexpected or interesting responses to “The Penguin that goes to the Mountain” from the viewers and critics?

It’s Paik Art Center. People expect tough or different art…. I think the people who come here know what they can expect. There was nothing surprising or unusual, because people expect the surprising and unusual at Nam June Paik Art.

The Penguin that Goes to the Mountain” ran from 5 June until 22 August this year at South Korea’s Nam June Paik Art Center.

Tobias Berger also spoke with us about the Korean contemporary art scene: how accessible it is to non-Korean speakers; the current worldwide popularity of Korean art; the innovative non-profit art spaces in Korea. We will present this interview on Art Radar in the coming weeks.

JAS/KN/KCE

Related Topics: Korean artists, museum shows, interviews, installations

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Two Japanese artists shortlisted for Nam June Paik Award 2010

Posted by artradar on May 3, 2010


ASIAN ART PRIZE JAPANESE ARTISTS

International selectors for the Nam June Paik Award 2010 met on the last weekend of February in the Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf and there decided which artists would be shortlisted for this year’s award.

This year, the jury included Solange Farkas (Sao Paulo), who is the director and curator of VideoBrasil International Festival, Udo Kittelmann (Berlin), Antoni Muntadas (Barcelona/New York), Miklós Peternák (Budapest) and Yukiko Shikata (Tokyo).

Daito Manabe, Time Lapse-Plant, photo courtesy www.daito.ds

Daito Manabe, Time Lapse-Plant, photo courtesy http://www.daito.ds

The shortlisted artists

Daito Manabe, who describes himself as an artist programmer, designer, DJ, VJ and composer, is based in Tokyo, Japan. He creates innovative work with light and sound.

Ei Wada a.k.a. Crab Feet is also from Tokyo. He describes himself as “giving birth to” sound, music and media art works.

Hajnal Németh lives and works in Berlin. This Hungarian born artist works in a variety of media such as film, photography, installation and sound.

Eike is a German born artist who lives and works in Hungary. Eike has exhibited videos, sound and video installations, neon objects and light boxes.

Eike Utopia Past of the Future, looped video on 20 monitors, photo: Zoltán Kerekes

Eike Utopia Past of the Future, looped video on 20 monitors, photo: Zoltán Kerekes

Brazilian sound art collective Chelpa Ferro, was founded in 1995 by visual artists Barrão and Luiz Zerbini, and film-editor Sergio Mekler. The collective xplores sound in the context of sculpture and installations. Their work has been shown at international festivals such as the Venice Biennale.

Chelpa Ferro Toto Treme Terra, CCBB Rio de Janeiro 2006 Photo Julio Callado

Chelpa Ferro, Toto Treme Terra, CCBB (Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil) Rio de Janeiro 2006, Photo Julio Callado

Ali Kazma is a Turkish born video artist who received his training in the US. He has returned to his homeland and participated in the Istanbul Biennial in 2007 and 2009.

Rosa Barba works and lives in Cologne and Amsterdam. She is Italian born and educated in Germany and the Netherlands. Her body of work consists of films, installations and publications. She is best known for her 16mm films. Her work could be seen at the 2009 Venice Biennale.

Rosa Barba, Making Worlds, 53rd Venice Biennale, Palazzo delle Esposizione, Giardini, 2009 5x16mm films, modified projectors, 20min, 2009

Rosa Barba, Making Worlds, 53rd Venice Biennale, Palazzo delle Esposizione, Giardini, 2009 5x16mm films, modified projectors, 20min, 2009

Ignas Krunglevicius is a Lithuania born artist who has studied composition. He works in Oslo where he explores the combination of sound and image in his performances and installations.

The winners of the Newcomer Prize of the Nam June Paik Award 2008, Adriane Wachholz, Münster, and Thorsten Hallscheidt, Cologne and Karlsruhe, will also present new works in the exhibition.

History of the Nam June Paik Award

The Nam June Paik Award, International Media Art Award of the Art Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia, was launched in 2002. It is awarded to artists working with new media, including video, sound and light, and aims to encourage them to push the envelope in their chosen field. It was named after influential Korean-born American artist Nam June Paik.

An international jury nominates six to eight artists for an exhibition. This year’s exhibition begins in September and will be held at the Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf.

Visit the Kunststiftung NRW website for more information on the award and the foundation.

NA/KN

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Chinese, Indian leading artists fail to sell at Sotheby’s Asian Art evening sale October 2008

Posted by artradar on October 5, 2008


Kang Hyung-Koo

Kang Hyung-Koo

 

 

 

REPORT FROM THE AUCTION ROOM

Big name Chinese and Indian artists and several premium lot artworks failed to sell at Sotheby’s October 2008 evening sale of contemporary and modern Asian art but the sale pointed to a new trend of enthusiastic collecting interest in South East Asian art.

Sotheby’s presented its first evening sale of Asian art in Hong Kong 4 October 2008 following Christie’s lead in the Spring auctions. Although Sotheby’s was more aggressive in the number of lots offered (Sotheby’s 47, Christie’s 32), Sotheby’s sale was generally a more diverse cautious offering compared with Christie’s. Sotheby’s presented:

  • artworks covering more time periods (Sotheby’s contemporary and modern, Christie’s contemporary only)
  • artworks from more geographical markets ( Both: Chinese, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Sotheby’s added Filipino and Indonesian)
  • a greater price range at Sothebys with given estimates ranging from US$13,000 to more than US$3.85 million (Christie’s lowest given estimate was US$64,100 and ranged up to US$3.2m).

The results however could not have been more different. While Christie’s sale was a resounding success Sotheby’s sold only 28 of the 47 lots on offer.

The auction room was packed with all of the 200 or so seats taken and though more seats were brought in 30-40 people had to remain standing at the back. There were two rows of Sothebys staff (30-40 people) taking telephone bids. The auction room hummed with anticipation and got off to a roaring start with the first two lots. Filipino artist Ronald Ventura’s ‘Pinamumugaran’ attracted furious bidding and achieved a price of US$230,000 ex premium compared with estimates in the range US$13,000 to US$23,000. The next lot Indonesian artist Handiwirman Saputra’s ‘Mental Series No 8’ estimated at US$25,000- US$40,000 was also successful and eventually sold for US$140,000 ex premium.

Enthusiasm quickly waned during the next two lots of Indian art: lot 3 by  Thukral and Tagra just exceeded the estimate and lot 4 by Jagannath Panda missed its estimate.

The first big upset was lot 5 Subodh Gupta’s ‘Untitled’ estimated at US$1.5 – 2million. Known as the leading Indian contemporary artist Gupta was the first Indian contemporary artist to be included in international auction sales. Sotheby’s had high hopes for this lot but it failed to meet the reserve and went unsold. This set the tone for the next 7 lots; although the works were by  big name Indian and Chinese contemporary artists only 2 (Zhang Xiaogang and Feng Zhengjie) sold just scraping the bottom end of the estimates.

I Nyoman Masriadi

I Nyoman Masriadi

The remainder of the sale was slow and bidding was sticky apart from a couple of bright spots. Indonesian artist I Nyoman Masriadi’s ‘Sorry Hero, Saya Lupa’ estimated at US$48 – 75,000 attracted wide bidding from the room and phones and was finally sold for over US$500,000. Other artists who attracted several bidders and sold above estimates included Korean artists Lee Bul and Kang Hyung-Koo and Indonesian artists Agus Suwage and Affandi.

Contemporary Chinese artists who failed to sell any works in the sale included Liu Wei, Wang Guangyi, Tang Zhigang, Zeng Fanzhi, Yan Pei-ming, Feng Lijun. Chinese Moderns were not spared and lots by Liao Jichun, Chang Yu, Zhu Dequn were not sold. Other Asian artists who were not successful included Indians Subodh Gupta, Justin Ponmany, Japanese artist Takashi Murakami and founder of new media art Nam June Paik.

Some commentators suggest that this sale has been less successful because it coincides with a structural turning point in buyers’ tastes which are speculative and fad-led by nature and that interest in Chinese contemporary art has been replaced with a new enthusiasm for Korean and South East Asian art.

Fads aside, the correlation between prices of works and demand is certainly striking demonstrating a new price sensitivity by buyers of Asian art. September’s financial meltdown is no doubt the leading cause of the many failures in this sale but other factors may also be involved. The number of auctions and fairs has exploded in the last two years providing excess supply of art just when demand is reducing. This Sotheby’s auction competes with the concurrent Hong Kong International Art and Antiques Fair in which art is shown by over 80 galleries in 5000 sq metres of space on the floor above Sotheby’s sale at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The Sotheby’s sale also overlaps with Korea’s leading auction house Seoul Auction’s first auction in Hong Kong which is offering high quality Korean Japanese Chinese and Western modern and contemporary works.

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Surprises in store at Singapore Art Fair October 2008 – Asian Art News

Posted by artradar on October 2, 2008


ART FAIR SINGAPORE

ARTSingapore 2008 has some important surprises in store says Asian Art News. There will be a new focus on art from Korea, India and Japan, first time gallery participants, a collector’s show of art never before displayed in public and specially featured emerging artists to watch.

 “This year’s event will highlight a sizeable representation from India Korea and Japan” says fair director, Chen Shen Po. Alongside 22 new Korean fair participants ARTSingapore will also welcome 13 Japanese art galleries including Megumi Ogita Gallery, Shonandai MY Gallery, Arte Gallery and Shinsedo Hatanaka. This marks a new milestone in the development of the fair which has historically been a showcase for South East Asian art.

First time gallery participants include Sundaram Tagore Gallery (USA), Cais Gallery (Korea), Hwas Gallery (China), Silverlens (Philippines) and Bruno Art Group (Israel). Click here for full gallery list.

Jirapat Tatsanasomboon 'Fighting over the Maiden 2'

Jirapat Tatsanasomboon

Rising artists to be featured at the fair include:

  • Wu Jianjun (China)
  • Kengo Nakamura (Japan)
  • Jirapat Tatsanasomboon (Thailand)
  • Dang Xuan Hoa (Vietnam)
  • Wayan Sujanda (Indonesia)
  • Thota Vaikuntam (India)

This year the popular Special Collector’s Showcase section is curated by Masanori Fukuoka owner and founder of Japan’s Glenbarra Art Museum and who according to Asian Art News is ‘recognised as the world’s top collector and connoisseur of Indian contemporary art’. Fukuoka has arranged a solo show of Jogen Chowdhury (b 1939), one of the foremost artists of post-Independent India which will contain 18 ink pastel and watercolour works never before displayed in public.

As well as the Collector’s Showcase there will be another important exhibition. Kim Soo Keong a leading collector in Korea and a director of Kwangju Biennale Foundation has agreed to loan the Fair a group works from her collection of more than 100 pieces of Nam June Paik’s works, some of which including TV Repair Man and Blue Buddha have never been shown in public. Kim Soo Keong’s Nam June Paik collection is widely regarded as being amongst the most important in the world.

In total the fair will feature 110 galleries and institutions from 16 countries who will showcase more than US$30 million of artworks before an expected 15,000 visitors. Despite the fair’s growth from just 19 galleries in 2000, the Singapore fair remains ‘one of the most friendly and accessible’ fairs in the region says Asian Art News.

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New York dealers PaceWildenstein, James Cohan open in China July August 2008

Posted by artradar on July 1, 2008


NEW YORK CHINA Two leading New York galleries are opening spaces in China this summer. PaceWildenstein will unveil its 22,000 sq. ft gallery in Beijing in August, while James Cohan Gallery opens a 3,000 sq. ft space in Shanghai in July. Both galleries are counting on the rise of the Asian art market and the proliferation of regional collectors.

Gallery owner Jane Cohan says: “We did very well with collectors from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea during the ShContemporary fair last year. Chinese collectors have traditionally been China-centric, but we believe that in time they will buy more broadly.”

Longtime Cohan director Arthur Solway, a fluent Mandarin speaker, will launch the venture in a 1930s garden villa in the Luwan district. He plans to mount six exhibitions a year, showing work by Bill Viola, Nam June Paik, Roxy Paine and Yinka Shonibare among other artists. The new space will be the first American gallery to open in Shanghai.

Meanwhile, Pace Beijing opens its doors in a former munitions factory in the Dashanzi 798 Art District in time for the August Olympics. The massive space is being renovated by New York architect Richard Gluckman. The inaugural show will include portraits by Zhang Huan, Zhang Xiaogang, Chuck Close, Alex Katz, Tim Eitel and Lucas Samaras.

Well-known art critic and curator Leng Lin is to become president of Pace Beijing. In 2004 he founded Beijing Commune, an alternative centre showing emerging and established Chinese artists such as Zhang Xiaogang, who is represented in the US by PaceWildenstein.

When asked about the 34% tax on imported art for mainland buyers, Pace Gallery director Peter Boris said: “Quite honestly it’s not that we expect to sell a lot of western art in mainland China initially. We want to present it and develop the market.” He added: “There are so many big question marks about doing business in China, but we think we have the best artists, a great space and someone extraordinary to run the gallery.”

Mr Boris also hopes the Chinese artists will respect their exclusivity with the gallery: “Right now we are the sole agents of Zhang Huan and Zhang Xiaogang in the US and hopefully we will be that in Asia. We believe that by placing their work in great collections, and keeping it away from speculators, we can convince the artists we have a good management model.”

Source: http://www.theartnewspaper.com/article.asp?id=8056

For more on dealer expansion in Asia https://artradarasia.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/globalisation-of-asian-art-galleries-gathers-pace/

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