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"Whose Story Is This" at Busan MoCA Presents New Alternative Perspectives on Today’s Society

Exhibition title of "Whose Story Is This" at Busan MoCA. (December 9, 2022 - March 5, 2023) © Busan MoCA.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Busan (Busan MoCA), a public contemporary art museum located in Eulsukdo Ecological Park in Busan, focuses on “nature,” “new media,” and “human” as the keywords in its programs.

To offer a new perspective on a future where nature, technology, human beings, and art coexist, the Busan MoCA is presenting the exhibition Whose Story Is This from December 9, 2022, to March 5, 2023. This exhibition explores how various issues inherent in our society are connected to the stories of nine artists and how their artworks resonate with the world.

The title of the exhibition was taken from the book Whose Story Is This? by activist and columnist Rebecca Solnit. The book is a collection of essays on feminism in the #MeToo era, gender issues, voting rights, nationalism, abortion laws, and the climate crisis.

Exhibition title wall of "Whose Story Is This," Busan MoCA. (December 9, 2022 - March 5, 2023). Courtesy of Busan MoCA.

The exhibition sees different stories of our multi-layered and diversifying society through the eyes of the participating artists and investigates how their stories, thoughts, emotions, and actions echo in today’s society.

The exhibition gathered artists between the ages of thirty and seventy and included more female artists to question the existing mainstream and embrace more diverse and alternative perspectives with a focus on nature, climate change, and women.

Nine artists, Suki Seokyeong Kang, Nalini Malani, Shin Sunghy, Yoon Hyangro, Rim Dongsik, Jung Jungyeob, Christine Sun Kim, Hong Soun, and Hong Young In, are participating in the exhibition, which features sixty-five artworks of various genres, including painting, installation, and textile.

To share diverse perspectives with a wider audience, various programs, such as performances, workshops, sign language guides, lectures, and curator talks, are incorporated into the exhibition.

Installation view: Hong Soun, 'Memoryscape' series (2014-2022). "Whose Story Is This," Busan MoCA. Courtesy of the artist and the museum.

Since the 1980s, Jung Jungyeob (b. 1962), one of the participating artists born before the 1970s, has been depicting living things, primarily those whose significance has been overlooked in today’s mainstream society based on feminist and ecological perspectives. Rim Dongsik (b. 1945), who led the nature art movement in Korea during the 1980s and 1990s and now focuses on painting, demonstrates the connection between humans and nature through outdoor performances and installations.

The late Shin Sunghy (1948–2009), renowned for using the “Nouage” technique of cutting and weaving canvas, expressed how various human beings intertwine and coexist in society. Hong Soun (b. 1959) has been working on drawing out common experiences and collective memories of society to create solidarity between people. And Nalini Malani (b. 1946), a pioneer of multimedia art in India, examines her personal experience as a refugee in India and addresses global issues from a female perspective.

Artists born after the 1970s, such as Suki Seokyeong Kang, Yoon Hyangro, Hong Young In, and Korean-American artist Christine Sun Kim, also offer new perspectives on the world through their artworks.

Installation view: Suki Seokyeong Kang 'GRANDMOTHER TOWER - tow' series (2013-2019). "Whose Story Is This," Busan MoCA. Courtesy of the artist and the museum.

Suki Seokyeong Kang (b. 1977) explores the relationship between the social position of individuals and their surrounding space through a research-driven practice encompassing a vast array of genres, including sculpture, painting, video, installation, and performance.

Kang’s practices combine cultural tradition, its forms, and related materials. The grids that frequently appear in her works are inspired by hwamunseok, handwoven sedge mats that are traditionally produced by Korean craftswomen and used in chunaengmu, a traditional Korean court dance. The grid represents the social system and the internal logic of society, and the small units it creates represent the minimum space society provides to individuals. Kang also records the emotions and thoughts evoked by the abstract patterns created by various everyday objects. She sometimes lays these objects on top of one another to find a balanced form and a pattern between rules, emotions, and colors.

In 2018, Suki Seokyeong Kang won the Baloise Art Prize at Art Basel, and her works were acquired by Mudam Luxembourg. She has had solo exhibitions at the Buk-Seoul Museum of Art (Seoul, 2019–2020), Mudam Luxembourg (2018), and ICA Philadelphia (2018). Her works have been featured at the Venice Biennale (2019), the Shanghai Biennale (2018), the Gwangju Biennale (2018), and the Liverpool Biennial (2018). This year, Kang will have a solo exhibition at Samsung’s Leeum Museum of Art.

Installation view: Yoon Hangro, ':)♥atypical-A1 to F3' series (2020). "Whose Story Is This," Busan MoCA. Courtesy of the artist and the museum.

Yoon Hyangro’s (b. 1986) abstract works are created through a digital process of bringing together images from popular media such as comics, animations, movies, and novels. Yoon deconstructs and reorganizes these images into abstract forms and transfers them to canvas paintings. 

Yoon selects specific scenes from popular media and edits, adjusts, and distorts the images through digital editing programs. Rather than using paintbrushes, Yoon uses airbrushes to create a smooth and flat surface to resemble digital images on the screen. Yoon focuses on the technical aspects of the images produced and consumed in today’s society, and under the concept of “pseudo-painting,” she converts the visual images and elements used in various other fields into the language of painting.

Yoon Hyangro has held solo exhibitions at various institutions, including Cylinder (Seoul, 2022), Hakgojae (Seoul, 2020), Doosan Gallery (New York, 2017), One & J Plus One (Seoul, 2017), and Insa Art Space (Seoul, 2014). She has participated in a number of group exhibitions at various locations, including the Seoul Museum of Art (Seoul, 2018), Sotheby’s Institute (New York, 2017), Atelier Hermes (Seoul, 2017), Arario Gallery (Seoul, 2016), ARKO Art Center (Seoul, 2015), Ilmin Museum of Art (Seoul, 2015), and National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Gwacheon, 2015), as well as the 12th Gwangju Biennale (Gwangju, 2018). Her works are in the collections of the MMCA, the Government Art Bank (Seoul), and the Arario Museum (Seoul).

nstallation view: Hong Young In, 'Prayers No 1-39' (2017). "Whose Story Is This," Busan MoCA. Courtesy of the artist and the museum.

Hong Young In (b. 1972), a South Korean-born artist based in Bristol, aims to reveal the collective memories of unwritten history and undervalued cultural practices hidden beneath the authoritative, male-dominated surface through her research-led practice that employs a wide range of mediums, such as drawing, embroidery, painting, installation, site-specific performance, and text.

Often drawing inspiration from modern Korean history, Hong demonstrates the theme of “equality” from a woman’s perspective by using methods that are not usually associated with high art. For her performance works, she also collaborates with local communities and other experts from various art fields to engage with various social perspectives and experiences and reconstruct existing structures and historical narratives.

Hong Young In was shortlisted for the Korea Artists Prize 2019 exhibition at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) and won the Kimsechoong Art Prize (Seoul, 2011) and the Suk-Nam Art Prize of the Suk-Nam Art Foundation (Seoul, 2003). Hong has been featured in numerous international institutions, including Leicester Museum & Art Gallery (Leicester, 2022), the Asia Culture Center (Gwangju, 2020), the ICA Studio & Theatre (London, 2015), and the Artsonje Center (Seoul, 2014).

Installation view: Christine Sun Kim, 'Turning Clock' (2020). "Whose Story Is This," Busan MoCA. Courtesy of the artist and the museum.

Christine Sun Kim (b. 1980) is a Korean-American sound artist based in Berlin. Being profoundly deaf since birth, Kim approaches the concept of sound from various angles through drawing, performance, and video. Kim investigates the materiality and operation of sound and alters the prevalent view of language.

Kim’s practice investigates the function of sound in society. She experiments with the various aspects of language systems and Deaf cultures, such as body language and American Sign Language (ASL), as well as musical and graphic notation. Kim creates new structures for her own visual language and expands the scope of existing communication systems. Through her artistic practices, she attempts to deconstruct preconceived notions about sound and communication that are based on existing standards and social values in linguistics.

Christine Sun Kim exhibited and performed internationally at various renowned institutions, including the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver, 2022), Queens Museum (New York, 2022), Whitney Museum (New York, 2018), Art Institute of Chicago (2018), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2017), De Appel Arts Center (Amsterdam, 2017), Rubin Museum of Art (New York, 2017), Berlin Biennale (2016), Shanghai Biennale (2016), and the Museum of Modern Art (New York, 2013). Kim was awarded an MIT Media Lab Fellowship and a TED Senior Fellowship.

Among the exhibitions to be held at Busan MoCA in 2023, a greater variety of alternative perspectives will be presented, and the importance of practical awareness will be emphasized. 

BusanMoCA Platform 2023: Ingredients Mining is scheduled to be held in August. The inaugural annual exhibition program is established to reflect on issues surrounding the ecosystem and the environment and to form and share social concerns about them as a discourse.

In September, Utopian Scenario About Nature, a special exhibition, will examine the connection between the climate crisis and contemporary capitalism, an urgent global issue, and present a critical discourse on the effective method of creating artworks and the social role of contemporary art in this era.

Spiritual Land, a children’s exhibition about the natural environment, will establish a connection between environmental destruction and the disappearing languages, such as the language of the nature-loving Native Americans or the Eskimo, which have various ways of expressing the concept of winter. The exhibition will bring back the various languages ​​that have arisen according to ethnic and topographical characteristics and provide an opportunity to reflect on how the disappearance of various indigenous cultures, spirits, and languages is connected to the standardization of modern times.

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