Independent Art Voice

Korean Pavilion: Moon Kyungwon And Jeon Joonho – Venice Biennale 2015

Venice Biennale

In the Korean pavilion, Artists Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho are presenting new site-specific work ‘The Ways of Folding Space & Flying’ (2015). The new multi-channel film installation is curated by Lee Sook-kyung of the Tate Research Centre Asia-Pacific and the Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee at Tate. She was previously Exhibitions & Displays Curator at Tate Liverpool, where she curated a number of exhibitions including Nam June Paik and Doug Aitken. She chose the duo to represent Korea as they deal with the discourse on the sociality of art.

Moon and Jeon’s video installation presented at the Venise Biennale is an extension to their ongoing project which started with, the critically acclaimed News from Nowhere. It won the Korea Artist Prize at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, and was first shown at the dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel in 2012.

Once more, their highly polished production, which includes famous actors, like Im Soo-jung and Lee Jung-jae, is increasingly interdisciplinary including practitioners of the arts such as architecture, design and fashion. Moon and Jeon address questions such as the potential functionality of art, the role of the artist and more specifically: what can an artist do facing a grave crisis for civilisation?

‘The Ways of Folding Space & Flying’ is rooted into Eastern culture and in particular Taoism, its beliefs of supernatural abilities. The title in Korean includes two concepts: “chukjibeop”: how to contract physical distance and “Bihaengsul”: the supernatural power to move between space and time, to free state in spirit and body. It encompasses the human desire to surpass the physical and perceived barriers, and it echoes the facet of art based on “the human desire to imagine and challenge physical limitations.”

The video installation utilises the architectural characteristics of the space: The Korean Pavilion, which was the last of the national pavilion in the Giardini is a complex piece of architecture which features a glass wall designed by Kim Seok-chul and Franco Mancuso. Moon and Jeon chose to maximise the architectural characteristics and the fact that the pavilion is on higher ground.They built a replica set of the Korean Pavilion in Korea and filmed there: transforming the venue into a futuristic laboratory of art.

The story explores a post-apocalyptic universe. Earth has undergone a cataclysmic event and most of the land, including Venice, is underwater, alone the Korean Pavilion floats like a buoy. The protagonists of the film experience bizarre incidents and intended encounters as a metaphor to explore the artists ideas on the fundamental function of art.

Top actress Im Soo-jung plays an androgynous human of the future. She evolves in this futurist white space of high- tech and design… water is there as a treasured resource and yet the cause of the apocalyptic disaster… the projection in the other room presents the main character travelling in time back to the Renaissance with a light in her hand. The mesmerising video installation takes us to a world of dreams, wonder and travelling through space and time, and wondering what the future of Art will be.

Words: Virginie Syn Photos courtesy of the Korean Pavilion © Artlyst 2015 all rights reserved

Venice Biennale: 56th International Art Exhibition – Venice Biennale (various venues) – 9 May to 22 November 2015


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