MATERIAL-REAL


Curated by Sung woo Kim



A new curated gallery sector that highlights emerging and established Korean artists. This sector explores how Korean contemporary artists' experimental practices can be understood in the context of rapid changes in the culture, economy and society of Korea. The artists' experimental and provocative approaches to their material is a metaphor of their viewpoint towards Korean contemporary society.

Today’s Korea is creating quite interesting events internationally, such as the spread of Korean culture and creation of trends through its pop culture, the digital infrastructure that was built quickly, and the designing and exporting of urban environmental concepts such as 'smart cities’. Such trends, however, overlook some of the traces of scars that have yet to be healed, which are disguised under the brilliant surfaces of today’s Korean society, despite its rapid economic growth since the Korean War, often referred to as the ‘Miracle of the Han River.’ The traumas from the war still, for instance, the conflict between the generations has grown in recent years with the emphasis by the elder generation on development and achievement, and the younger generation whose everyday entails the urgent survival of existence; the sense of deprivation from the unequal distribution of wealth; and political debates completely divorced from reality. In a society where economic growth is based on blind aspiration for development, which occurred in such a dramatic fashion, perhaps tension and division may be naturally inevitable. However, such existing gaps may be understood as an object adequate for critical thinking, as well as a mission that suggests coordinates for the society to move toward, or a driving force that inspires its members to awaken from complacency.

Based on this background, the sector sheds light on the experimental practice of contemporary Korean artists under the name of Material-Real. Such is a way of looking at the artist's experiments, expansion and deconstructing with material in a way that raises questions, in an effort to collaborate to resolve the existing phenomenon in front of us today, most of which are brought upon by various perspectives across society, culture, politics, economics and history of Korea. For example, it is spotlighting a series of artists who respond to the hybridization of the tradition and the present, the consideration of the changed personality and subjectivity from the past to the present, and the visual reflection of rapidly shifted life aspects with the emergence of new media, all of which are presented in the expanded viewpoints with experimental practices. The act of watching beyond through the new perceptions towards materials, deconstruct and extended practices, and representation of the subject, cannot be understood simply as an exploration for the aestheticism of art itself. Rather, these can be seen as active artistic gestures that are inherently acquired in a rapidly changing society, as a result of the processes of resisting and accepting the immediate phenomenon facing them. And perhaps this could be a question on the reality that has been visualised in the singular artistic languages of the artists, which were achieved through continuous conflict between the autonomy and social responsibilities of art.

PARTICIPATING GALLERIES:
• A-Lounge
• Arario Gallery
• Gallery 2
• Gallery Batonr
• Gallery Chosun
• Gallery Hyundai
• Gana Art
• Hakgojae Gallery
• Johyun Gallery
• P21
• PIBI Gallery
• Space Willing N Dealing
• Whistle