Critics’ Picks

Sora Kim, Library, 2016, ninety-six donated books, dimensions variable.

Sora Kim, Library, 2016, ninety-six donated books, dimensions variable.

Seoul

“Connect 1: Still Acts”

Art Sonje Center
87 Yulgok-ro 3-gil Jongno-gu
August 27–November 20, 2016

Art Sonje Center
87 Yulgok-ro 3-gil Jongno-gu
August 27–November 20, 2016

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, also dangle from the open ceiling.

In contrast with the sense of chaos and decay expressed, the second-floor space containing Chung’s art seems almost ascetic. Her wooden sculpture Lookout, 1999, standing in the middle of the vast, empty gallery, in fact, resembles a lifeguard tower of the kind one finds on a beach, but it affords no views of anything, thanks to its location and reduced size. Kim, meanwhile, has transformed the museum’s first-floor lobby into a library (Library, 2016). After asking her friends and acquaintances to send her their unwanted books, she created performance scores based on the contents of the ninety-six volumes submitted. Different performers reinterpret each performance throughout the duration of the exhibition, showing how disparate perspectives lead to an idiosyncratic array of content consumption. Overall, by revisiting the museum’s earlier years while simultaneously involving its physical reconstruction as a backdrop, the current exhibition attempts to “connect” its past to the future.