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Byungjun Kwon Wins ‘Korea Artist Prize 2023’

Byungjun Kwon, final winner of the ‘Korea Artist Prize 2023’ Copyright: MMCA

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA, director Kim Sunghee) selected Byungjun Kwon as the final winner of the ‘Korea Artist Prize 2023’, co-organized by SBS Foundation.

Since 2012, the ‘Korea Artist Prize’ has been Korea’s representative art award that selects four talented artists who address contemporary aesthetic and social issues, providing them with opportunities to create and exhibit new works and selecting one of them as the final winner. In 2023, the first year of the new program, which has undergone some improvements, the nominees’ new works as well as representative older works will be exhibited together to further reveal the artist’s oeuvre. And the winner, Byungjun Kwon, was selected after an open jury-artist dialogue with the audience.

Byungjun Kwon is an artist who curates and directs new media performances encompassing music, theater, and art, with an interest in sound recording with stereophonic sound, reproduction in exhibition spaces, and technological development. For this exhibition, he chose ‘robots’ as minorities and companions in human society, and presented a comprehensive theater including a series of robot performances, such as the new work Robot Crossing a Single Line Bridge (2023), Ochetuji Ladderbot (2022), Nael Performing the Fan Dance (2021), and Jangseung (2023).

Byungjun Kwon, Robot Crossing a Single Line Bridge, 2023, Courtesy of the artist Copyright: MMCA

The jury chose Kwon as the winner because his work questions humanity through technology and, in doing so, conveys an emotional impact and resonates with a keen sense of understanding between people.

Kim Sunghee, director of MMCA, said “Using immersive robotic theater, Byungjun Kwon has created a beautiful work that questions the possibility of infinite expansion of human community and presents various forks in the road of modern civilization,” and “We are grateful to all four artists for their meaningful works through this exhibition.”

“Korea Artist Prize 2023” Installation view of Byungjun Kwon Copyright: MMCA

The jury for this ‘Korea Artist Prize 2023’ included Aaron Cezar, founding director of the UK-based Delfina Foundation; Binna Choi, co-curator of Hawai’i Triennial 2025; Nav Haq, associate director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp (M HKA); Yuka Uematsu, chief curator at the National Museum of Art Osaka; and MMCA director Kim Sunghee.

The “Korea Artist Prize 2023” exhibition continues through March 31 at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea in Seoul.

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