Jung-Ah Woo

  • Chung Seoyoung, Thorns, Tall Plants, 2020, ceramic, painted plywood pedestal, 12 x 8“, 25 x 27 x 42”.
    picks June 12, 2020

    Chung Seoyoung

    In “Knocking Air,” her first solo exhibition in South Korea in four years, Chung Seoyoung presents twenty-seven large-scale sculptures and installations, a video, and drawings on ceramic. The work that perhaps best reflects the artist’s interest in poetic language and sculptural intervention into everyday space is the first series one encounters upon entering the gallery: ten pristine white pedestals, neatly arranged and inviting viewers to walk through them. On each, Chung has placed a letter-size, paper-thin, white ceramic plate. The spatial arrangement is deceptively minimal. The short texts

  • View of “Urban Ritornello: The Archives on Community.” Front: Yi so-ra, Folk song Researcher’s Archive, 2017. Back: Kim Soyoung, Performing Diaspora Archive, 2017.
    picks November 01, 2017

    “Urban Ritornello: The Archives on Community”

    Curating a strong thematic exhibition often demands archival research on said theme—and if that theme is the wide-ranging and multilayered concept of “community,” the curator’s research likely extends into cross-disciplinary scholarship on history, sociology, philosophy, ethnography, anthropology, and urban planning, among other subjects.

    Instead of showcasing the final outcome of such investigations, however, “Urban Ritornello: The Archives on Community,” curated by Juhyeon Cho, presents the source materials from the archives of participating artists and scholars across the three-story museum.

  • Sora Kim, Library, 2016, ninety-six donated books, dimensions variable.
    picks October 20, 2016

    “Connect 1: Still Acts”

    Artsonje Center’s yearlong renovation work has been temporarily suspended while the venue stages “Connect 1: Still Acts”—which presents work by three artists: Lee Bul, Chung Seoyoung, and Kim Sora, all of whom previously had solo exhibitions here. On the third floor is Lee’sMajestic Splendor, 1997/2016, for the first time since its scandalous debut: Ninety-eight pieces of sea bream are ornamented with beads and sequins, individually packed in plastic bags, and attached to the wall in seven rows. When the fish have rotted away, foul air will pervade the gallery—where Lee’s Cyborgs W1–W4, 1998,

  • View of “Osang Gwon,” 2016.
    picks July 27, 2016

    Osang Gwon

    Ten pieces from Osang Gwon’s series “The New Structure,” 2014–, pack the gallery’s basement floor. Finally presented together for the first time, their structures redefine the space to make a dynamic interplay possible between the visitors and the works.

    Gwon’s best-known series, “The Deodorant Type,” 1998–, offers a response to sculptural convention. In order to avoid the heavy materials traditional to his medium, such as stone or steel, the artist has built up an armature of a human figure with a Styrofoam-like material and pasted thousands of detailed photographs on its surface. This blending

  • Optical Race (Hyungjae Kim and Jaehyun Bahk), Family Planning, 2016, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks June 21, 2016

    “Artspectrum 2016”

    “Artspectrum” is Seoul’s answer to the Whitney Biennial. Since 2001, it has supported emerging artists and showcased a broad spectrum of Korean contemporary art. This year, ten artists and artist groups are presented. For their contribution Art Spectral, 2016, the Okin Collective (Joungmin Yi, Hwayong Kim, and Shiu Jin) installed a wide wooden floor within the gallery and outfitted the space as a quasi-living room or lounge. They instruct visitors on how to enjoy it: Heat the pillow in the provided microwave, rest on it, read their publication (copies of which are scattered across the installation),

  • Sung Kim, A Maverick Leopard Jumps Over the Snow Lion and the Capitan Tiger in the Mountain Yosemite, 2016, digital print mounted on illuminated advertising frame, 6 x 19 1/2'.
    picks April 12, 2016

    “Graphic Designs, 2005-2015, Seoul”

    Contrary to its title, “Graphic Designs, 2005–2015, Seoul” contains no graphic design works per se. Curators Hyungjin Kim and Min Choi, who are both graphic designers and independent publishers, believe that the products of graphic design are not meant to be displayed in a museum setting. However, they’ve invited twelve artists and artist collectives, critics, journal editors, architects, photographers, and graphic designers to respond to a museum commission in their own idiosyncratic ways.

    For the exhibition, the curators compiled 101 Indexes, a catalogue of graphic designs dating from 2005 to

  • View of “Minouk Lim,” 2015–16.
    picks January 14, 2016

    Minouk Lim

    Minouk Lim has installed The Gates of Citizen, 2015, in the middle of Auguste Rodin’s The Gates of Hell, 1926–28, and The Burghers of Calais, 1889, which are parts of the museum’s permanent collection. The artist removed the doors from four shipping containers and recomposed them into an open passage, in which Lim set an audio system that plays popular songs along with the noise from various types of vehicles. Between the artworks that represent the pain and suffering of human beings on the one hand and the heroic sacrifice for the sake of the community on the other, the container gates aptly

  • Left: Lee Ufan. Right: Lee Ufan Space. Photos: Hyo Won Park.
    interviews June 17, 2015

    Lee Ufan

    On April 10, 2015, Space Lee Ufan opened at the Busan Museum of Art in Busan, South Korea. It is the second permanent venue dedicated to the artist (after the Lee Ufan Museum in Naoshima, Japan); for this project, Lee chose the site, conceived the initial design of the building, selected the works to display, supervised the installations, directed the size and location of the wall texts, and even designed the wooden chairs for the café. In sum, the space is a Gesamtkunstwerk, one of the most significant projects of the artist’s career.

    I’VE ALWAYS been suspicious of any proposal to build a museum

  • View of “Haegue Yang: Shooting the Elephant, Thinking the Elephant,” 2015.
    picks March 23, 2015

    Haegue Yang

    For her first Korean exhibition in five years, Haegue Yang chose a title inspired by George Orwell’s essay “Shooting an Elephant” and Romain Gary’s novel The Roots of Heaven (1958), which both feature elephants as a metaphor for nature’s dignity and its relation to human civilization. Yang’s recent concerns about the tension between them unfold collectively in her latest series, “The Intermediates.”

    On view are three architectural structures, modeled after an ancient Mayan pyramid, Borobudur Temple in Indonesia, and Lala Tulpan (a Russian Islamic mosque), respectively—all handcrafted with straw,

  • View of “Kyuchul Ahn,” 2014.
    picks November 11, 2014

    Kyuchul Ahn

    Kyuchul Ahn took the title of his exhibition “All and but Nothing” from a quote by Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer: “We see all and nothing.” Here, Ahn twists the phrase, referring to the bitter experiences of failure in his own life and the misguided faith that his words and deeds have been comprehensive. As such, images of failure and performances of futility run through the exhibition.

    In the middle of the gallery are unfinished walls, each made up of approximately 4,000 red bricks. During the exhibition’s duration, the artist will extend one end of each wall by adding bricks taken from the

  • Jae-hyun Shin, Trailing: Drawing Performance in Fifty Days (detail), 2014, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks July 03, 2014

    “Secretly, Greatly”

    “Secretly, Greatly” presents artworks by the three finalists of the reality-TV competition Art Star Korea, which premiered in late March. The show gave fifteen artists the opportunity to compete for substantial rewards: a cash prize of $93,000 and a solo exhibition at a prestigious gallery in Seoul. The show also set no restrictions on the contestant’s age, education, or occupation, which resulted in over four hundred applicants. The final three—Hyeyoung Ku, Jae-hyun Shin, and Byung-seo Yoo—survived the ten episodes, in which they underwent art-school style criticisms by five judges after each

  • Yeondoo Jung, Crayon Pop Special, 2014, mixed-media installation with performance and sound, dimensions variable.
    picks May 16, 2014

    Yeondoo Jung

    Yeondoo Jung’s “Spectacle in Perspective,” curated by Nayoung Cho, is the artist’s first museum-scale solo exhibition in Korea since his being named Artist of the Year by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in 2007. Along with his early photographs, the exhibition presents one of Jung’s recent experiments with media technology, Virgil’s Path, 2014, and a collaborative performance and installation, Crayon Pop Special, 2014. Though the artist has introduced elements of advanced technology into his show, he maintains his interest in an age-old concern: the dreams and fantasies of