Cosmism, the title of the exhibition by Melvin Moti, comes from Russian cosmism, a philosophical movement that entailed a theory of natural philosophy. It combined elements of religion, ethics, evolution and even the future existence of humankind. An example would be Alexander Chizhevsky (1897-1964), who explored how natural and human calamities are related to the amount of solar activity. Dealing with similar variables which Chizhevsky was interested in, Melvin Moti’s 28-minute long film experiments with correlations and ultimately questioning the disconnection between the individuals and the world. The film switches back and forth from the horrid and almost zombie-like scenes of the 9/11 attacks to footage of the sun’s activity, and even a recorded re-enactment of Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots) being beheaded. The irony lies in that our world has never been so connected in history, perhaps this paradox is portrayed by absence of sound, with only short 4-minutes of incomprehensible blur of sounds. Along with the film, the exhibition features a series of works made in silk. Entitled Cluster Illusion, the series, done in collaboration with a Tokyo-based master kimono dyer, reflects on the relationship between part and whole. From a distance, the scintillating scenery drawn on to the silk cloth almost makes us feel like we're gazing upon majestic constellations. This alluring effect draws you closer to examine the details — yet, you will easily to get lost in the midst of the d
On the second floor of the Art Sonje Center is an interactive installation-based exhibition created by two local artists, Rhii Jew-yo and Jung Ji-hyun. With previous joint exhibitions at New York’s Queens Museum in 2015 and 2016 Gwangju Biennale, Dawn Breaks, Seoul will be their third collaborative experience. In this exhibition, Rhii and Jung's main objective is to push the boundaries of conventional storytelling by using objects and active participation of the audience. By navigating and interacting with the various kinetic structures chaotically juxtaposed within the confines of the gallery space, you and the objects become one organic entity, full of spirit and narrative.
MMCA presents the Yangjiang Group, an artist trio (Zhen Guogu, Chen Zaiyan, Sun Qinglin) who in a contemporary fashion reinterprets the practice and concept of calligraphy. Having shown in various international exhibitions including the Gwangju Biennale, Venice Biennale and Documenta, they have arrived in Seoul to share ideas and perform how “Calligraphy Is the Way to Communicate with the Most Primal Power.” Through calligraphy, the main motif of the group’s art works, they express the ways in which the Chinese participate in daily social communication. Yangjiang Group is fond of using unconventional materials such as stacks of writing, mass produced clothes, left-over food (which can be seen on the artist interview video) to bring back relevance to the tradition. Although the artist performances are the highlights of the exhibition, the museum space dedicated to the group (open until August 27th, 2017) is a great preview to the grand scale which the group never fails to bring in their show. The space is also meant to be a rendering of what they describe as an "ideal paradise," a unique coexistence of the past and present daily life. The audience participatory performances such as After Dinner Calligraphy and Tea and Incense Ceremony will be held on February 18th (2pm – 3pm), May 13th (4pm – 5pm) and finally on August 12th (4pm – 5pm).
Visually simple yet strangely alluring, works created by Ryan Gander displayed at his solo exhibition Soft Modernism focus on the relationship between objects. Perhaps the curious nature of humans to narcissistically articulate an affiliation is what attracts the audience, as each of the neo-conceptual pieces has the potential to allude to a personally relevant story from their life—of the past, present and future. That is, the sculptures, paintings and interactive installations showcased are simplified in form to a point where anyone is allowed with plenty of room for open interpretation and storytelling—and, at the same time, a chance to understand the veiled meanings which the artist mischievously induced. Such self-conscious nature is the reference with which the title of the exhibition is understood: for the artist, post-modern art is nothing but “frivolous ego-centric nonsense,” that is, contrary to the viewpoint of many art historians who regard conceptual art as post-modern, and hence refers to his collection as "soft modernism." From the contemporary "selfie culture" discussed in the basement installation to pieces that suggestively arouse childhood sensibilities, Gander's works engage viewers in the conceptual exploration of ambiguous relationships we naturally build upon interaction.