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Artist Hwasoo Yoo wins ‘the 23rd SONGEUN Art Award’

Artist Hwasoo Yoo ©SONGEUN Art and Cultural Foundation and the Artist. All rights reserved. Photo: CJY ART STUDIO.

Korean artist Hwasoo Yoo (b. 1979) has been named the grand prize winner of the 23rd SONGEUN Art Award.

Yoo has focused on how technological advancement impacts human labor, exploring the intricate relationships between the technological environment and individuals, machines, and humans, as well as the social phenomena emerging from these interactions. Particularly, the artist delves into the reactions and phenomena that unfold when technology encounters obstacles and malfunctions, transcending human-centric perspectives to address the coexistence of technology’s environmental values and the future.

Hwasoo Yoo, Gesture of Cultivation, 2023, Smart farm system, magnolia, zelkova, motor, senor, various installation ©SONGEUN Art and Cultural Foundation and the Artist. All rights reserved. Photo: CJY ART STUDIO.

In the 23rd SONGEUN Art Award Exhibition, Yoo presented Gesture of Cultivation (2023), which scrutinizes how our perception of nature and the environment tends to become increasingly monotonous and desensitized as technology and information develop and become more sophisticated. Yoo focused on trees in a residential complex that was removed because it infringed on viewing rights. Yoo collected ecological data on non-edible mushrooms thriving on and decomposing dead trees, utilizing smart farms—a cutting-edge technology designed in response to human needs—to cast them in a role of maintenance and care. The act of taking care of nature, which has become obsolete from a human point of view, by using a cutting-edge technology created by human needs, raises questions about who and how we coexist today.

Hwasoo Yoo, Gesture of Cultivation, 2023, Smart farm system, magnolia, zelkova, motor, senor, various installation ©SONGEUN Art and Cultural Foundation and the Artist. All rights reserved. Photo: CJY ART STUDIO.

The 23rd SONGEUN Art Award Exhibition was secondly held after the reorganization. A total of 512 artists applied for the 23rd edition of the award, and through the preliminary round, 20 artists participated in the exhibition including Kyungho Baek, Yeonhwa Hur, Moonjung Hwang, Sunjeong Hwang, Jang Pa, Sophie Jeong, Jangyeun Jun, Jung Jin, Eun Yeoung Lee, Sejun Lee, Woosung Lee, Nosik Lim, Isaac Moon, Jinu Nam, Jongkwan Paik, Hyung-Jin Park, Wunggyu Park, Mi-Jung Shin, Je Hyun Shin, and Hwasoo Yoo. During the exhibition, Hwasoo Yoo was selected as the grand prize winner. The artworks of 20 artists, including the grand prize winner Hwasoo Yoo, can be seen at SONGEUN until February 24.

The SONGEUN Art Award is an annual art award organized by the SONGEUN Art and Cultural Foundation since 2001 to discover and support promising contemporary Korean artists. Since its reorganization in 2021, the SONGEUN Art Award program has been developed even further to substantially increase the benefits, which can be accredited to the partnership with Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) and sponsorship from Cartier.

As the winner of the grand prize, Yoo will receive a cash award of 20 million KRW and be granted a solo exhibition at SONGEUN within two years. Sponsored by the SONGEUN Art and Cultural Foundation and Cartier, two artworks of Yoo will also be acquired for SONGEUN and Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) collection. Yoo will be granted the opportunity to attend the Nanji residency program for one year. The 20 artists participating in the 23rd SONGEUN Art Award Exhibition, including the winning artist, will be eligible to apply for the ‘SONGEUN Art and Cultural Foundation – Delfina Foundation Residency’ program, which is operated exclusively in Korea through an agreement with the Delfina Foundation in London, and the grand prize winner will be supported Delfina Foundation residency program for 12 weeks.

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