As the new year begins and the spring season approaches, major art museums in Korea have announced their exhibition schedules for 2022.
This year’s Korean art scene consists largely of exhibitions dealing with new media art and solo shows by influential contemporary art figures.
Public art museums such as the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) and the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) have set forth their goals for 2022 to not only bring global attention to Korean contemporary art but also to improve Korea’s competitiveness in the cultural market by introducing prominent international artists who are less known to the country through their solo exhibitions.
2022 is also the year of the 90th anniversary of the birth of Nam June Paik, a pioneer of video art. To keep pace with the growing public awareness of and interest in digital art, particularly NFT art, a number of museums and art institutions will hold new media art shows this year.
The three following exhibitions are scheduled to be held in the first half of this year between March and June:
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art will showcase the works of the American artist Ian Cheng for the first time in Asia. Ian Cheng, who studied cognitive science, works with game design, interactive technology, and artificial intelligence (AI) to create artificial lifeforms. The artist raises questions of the meaning of progress and perceptions through self-operating video games and by creating an AI creature “whose personality, body and life script evolve across exhibitions,” according to his official website.
His works can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Migros Museum in Zurich, and other institutions.
The renowned Berlin-based media artist Hito Steyerl’s first solo exhibition in Korea will be held in April at the Seoul branch of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA). Steyerl investigates how our global society has been inundated with images related to media, digital science, technology, capitalism, and military propaganda. She works in various genres ranging from media art and performance to documentary cinema and essays.
As one of the most influential figures in contemporary art, Steyerl topped ArtReview’s annual list of ‘Power 100’ with first place in 2017. Her name appeared again on the list last year, ranking 17th.
Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) will be featuring works by French visual artist Jean-Michel Othoniel in June. Othoniel is known for his large-scale jewelry-like glass sculptures. Having become an artist during the AIDS crisis in the late 1980s, Othoniel touches on themes such as ephemerality, fragility, and despair with materials that are transformable, such as sulfur and wax, with a more recent emphasis on glass.
His artworks are collected by institutions including the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, and the Pompidou Center and the Louvre in Paris.