"The Ulsan Art Museum Collection: Future Collection" Contemplates What an Art Collection Is Like Today

Under the theme “What is an art collection now?” The Ulsan Art Museum Collection: Future Collection presents about 30 works from the museum’s collection, ranging from time-based immersive installations to participatory, interactive works.

Poster image of "The Ulsan Art Museum Collection: Future Collection." Ulsan Art Museum. (February 16, 2023 - May 21, 2023). Courtesy of the museum.

The Ulsan Art Museum opened its doors in January 2022, 11 years after the decision to establish the museum in August 2011. As a public art museum equipped with three exhibition halls and an extended reality lab (XR Lab), the Ulsan Art Museum aims to become a futuristic art museum that researches, collects, and exhibits works of art based on digital media.

Under the theme “What is an art collection now?” the museum is holding three exhibitions focusing on the issues of modern and contemporary art collections.

Among the three exhibitions, The Ulsan Art Museum Collection: Future Collection, which is on view in Gallery 1, features the museum’s collection, while the other two highlight collections from other museums.

As a newly opened art museum, the Ulsan Art Museum aims to build its history by establishing a unique collection. And through its various activities, the museum intends to seek its future direction by shedding light on the value of its collections. In this regard, The Ulsan Art Museum Collection: Future Collection examines the changing nature and meaning of art collections while contemplating various issues surrounding the activity of collecting contemporary works of art.

Installation view: Tony Oursler, 'Lock 2, 4, 6,' 2010, Paint, wood, video, projection, sound, Dimension variable. "The Ulsan Art Museum Collection: Future Collection." Ulsan Art Museum. (February 16, 2023 - May 21, 2023). Courtesy of the artist and the museum.

Traditional art forms, such as paintings and sculptures, use conventional physical media, such as clay and oil paint, and have some kind of physical form. Therefore, museums could have developed certain methods for preserving traditional forms of art.

However, today’s artworks have evolved into more diverse forms, such as text or digital, and intangible immaterial elements, such as concepts, sounds, and movements. Preserving and exhibiting these diverse works composed of a variety of materials and concepts requires very different methods.

As digital technology continues to develop, contemporary art museums are contemplating how to collect and share with their audiences the ever-changing nature of artworks. To collect contemporary artworks, museums are redefining their collections, updating the meaning of collections, and creating a discourse on the role and function of collections.

As an art museum that aims to build a collection that reflects the global trend of media art, the Ulsan Art Museum has been working on collecting internationally influential artworks. Through its selection of works that incorporate technology, the exhibition reveals the identity of the Ulsan Art Museum and reflects the changes in contemporary new media works.

Kim Yun-chul, 'Chroma,' 2019, Acrylic, aluminum, polymer, micro-controller, motor, LED, 230x140x170cm. ©Studio Locus Solus.

The Ulsan Art Museum Collection: Future Collection presents about 30 works from the museum’s collection, ranging from time-based immersive installations to participatory, interactive works.

The exhibition begins with the work of Nam June Paik, one of the pioneers of video art.

The participating Korean artists include Lee Bul, an artist who has been challenging various social authorities by revealing today’s ideologies since the 1980s; Kim Yun-chul, an artist and electroacoustic music composer who has been asking fundamental questions about materiality through his works; Choe Uram, an artist who expands the genre of kinetic art by integrating mechanical and computer movements into sculpture;

Jun Sojung, a media artist known for reconstructing the stories of those who stand on the border between everyday life and art; and Lim Minouk, a multimedia artist and documentary producer who presents performance-based video work centered on stories and memories.

The exhibition also features Oh Inhwan, an artist who works on participatory and site-specific projects that utilize the context of specific space and time; Yangachi, who began his artistic career with web-based works in the early 2000s and now works on criticizing the possibilities of new media and the social, cultural, and political influence behind them;

Yeom Jihye, who sensibly intersects indirect experiences through media with her own actual experiences through video works that make us question social conventions; and Zin Kijong, an artist who reconstructs contemporary social and political issues and questions through various media.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 'Fireworks (Archives),' 2014, Video installation, single-channel video, color, sound, Dimension variable, 6 min. 40 sec. Courtesy of the artist and the Ulsan Art Museum.

Some of the participating international artists include Apichatpong Weerasethakul, a filmmaker and artist who works experimentally outside the strict Thai film industry; Jenny Holzer, who presents text-based conceptual works in public spaces through large-scale installations, billboards, and advertisement displays; Tony Oursler, an artist who expands video art by creating eerie projections on objects that seem far from technology; and Herman Kolgen, who explores the relationship between sound and image and creates audio-visual performances and video installations.

Alongside The Ulsan Art Museum Collection: Future Collection exhibition, the International Moving Image Collection: Art Fluidity exhibition presents 20 pieces from the collections of leading international media art institutions. The exhibition, which focuses on the fluidity of today’s immaterial digital works, presents the works of Marina Abramovic, Bill Viola, Gary Hill, and Bruce Nauman.

Another exhibition, The Lee Kun-hee Collection: Modern and Contemporary Korean Art Special Exhibition: An Eye for the Times, showcases masterpieces that occupy an important position in contemporary and modern Korean art. With one specific collection as an example, this exhibition gives a glimpse into how the works collected through the discerning collector’s insight contributed to the development of art history.

    • The full list of artists participating in The Ulsan Art Museum Collection: Future Collection includes Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Arin Rungjang, Bernd Lintermann, Peter Weibel, Choe Uram, Daniel Canogar, Haroon Mirza, Herman Kolgen, Isabella Fürnkäs, Jenny Holzer, Jun Sojung, Justine Emard, Kato Tsubasa, Kim Yunchul, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Lee Bul, Lim Minouk, Liu Jiaying(CryptoZR), Oh Inhwan, Song Dong, Suzanne Anker, Tabita Rezaire, Tomás Saraceno, Tony Oursler, Wael Shawky, Yangachi, Yeom Jihye, and Zin Kijong. 

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