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Yangachi wins Hermes Foundation Misulsang

5 Sep

The media artist Yangachi has won the 20 million-won art prize from the Hermes Foundation.  The news broke late on September 2 that the Seoul-based artist, who works mostly in video and media installation, was selected for Korea’s most prestigious art prize ahead of finalists Bae Jong-heon and Park Jina.

The prize was founded in 2000 as a way to promote Korean culture and art through generous sponsorship of important  figures in the Korean contemporary art scene.  Previous winners include Kim Beom, Do-ho Suh, Chan-kyong Park, and last year’s Park Yoon-young.


Still from "Bright Dove Hyunsook," Yangachi's award-winning video installation


Yangachi was awarded the prize for his work Bright Dove Hyunsook, which is currently installed at Media City Seoul.  The 2-channel installation uses CCTV cameras to capture the meanderings of Miss Hyunsook.  The unique aesthetic that results from the aerial perspectives and choppy camera panning combines with a snappy soundtrack to create a immersive and intriguing piece that is hard to walk away from.  The use of taxidermic doves, decorative lightbulbs, and gilded, earthen objet trouvés further contextualizes the work by incorporating parts of the video into the installation itself.

The jury committee, composed of Korean and international professionals, said this about their selection: “Yangachi earned an immensely positive assessment by enduring artistic risks and obligations, and making progress by maintaining a variety of values. This particular work’s aim greatly impacted the judges.’’

The artist, whose name means bully or gangster in Korean, has garnered a lot of attention this year, having been one of six finalists earlier this year for the first-ever Asia Art Award, sponsored by the CJ Cultural Foundation (the award was won by another Media City Seoul artist, Apichatpong Weerasethakul).



GALLERY: Mark Bradford finishes installation

2 Sep

Although Mark Bradford’s massive canvas, Kingdom Day, went up on the wall last week, he finished work on it yesterday. It’s quite impressive.

I caught up with him while he was “cleaning” it.  Along with his assistant, he meticulously went over the whole canvas by hand, using rags soaked in a cleaner mixed with a plastic varnish substance.  This serves the purpose of getting all the dust and grime off the surface (don’t forget that he creates collages from found paper from the streets of South Central Los Angeles) while also coating it with a protective covering to preserve it for the future.

Check out the photos below:

GALLERY: Media City Seoul installation part 2

1 Sep

Installation continues at Seoul Museum of Art in anticipation of this weekend’s VIP/Press preview and Monday’s public opening.  It’s interesting to see the progress of various galleries in the museum.

Nearly all the photography installations are up, and lighting adjustments are underway to ensure the best conditions for viewing.  Installation pieces, such as those by Izumi Taro, Xijing Men, and Mark Bradford’s painting are in a constant state of progress.  Izumi’s installation, which documents his life in Seoul over the course of 10 days, is of particular note in this regard.  Sumitomo Fumihiko, a curator for the exhibition, said that the piece will be under constant transformation and revision up until the VIP/Press opening on Saturday.

Video works are mostly waiting for projectors, screens, TV displays, to be installed and set up by the installation staff.  I presume these will be the last pieces to be finished before the opening.

Find photos below of Shilpa Gupta’s Singing Cloud and Untitled, Izumi Taro’s installation piece, Xijing Men’s piece, Yangachi’s video installation, and the structure that will house the first stage of Blast Theory’s interactive piece, Ulrike and Eamon Compliant.


PHOTOS: Mark Bradford at Media City Seoul

30 Aug

With under a week to go until the opening of Media City Seoul 2010, the participating artists have begun to arrive in earnest.  Today saw Blast Theory and Mark Bradford join the ranks of those already here to install their work.

Bradford’s piece, which was unloaded from the crate today, is a massive canvas, 12.2 x 3 meters in size (proportionate in size with the artist himself, who towers over the average Korean citizen, at well over six feet tall).  Photos are below from the first stage of installation.

As an aside, Bradford may be continuing to work on the piece over the next few days: “I won’t know if it’s finished until I see it up on the wall.”  We’re looking forward to seeing what the final outcome will be like.

Mark Bradford (left) monitors the unpacking of his new work, "Kingdom Day," to be shown at Media City Seoul 2010

Art handlers lift Bradford’s massive rolled canvas from its crate

Try this on for size: this is what 12.2 meters looks like on a wall

Along with his canvas, Mark Bradford shipped a box full of “found paper,” some of which will be used to complete his piece for Media City Seoul 2010

“Mark Bradford -equipment-” … the red marker means it’s official

UPDATE: Artist profiles posted!

26 Aug

With the guidebook for Media City Seoul 2010 in its finishing stages, we’re happy to get our hands on the artist profiles for the 45 artists participating in the biennial.  You can find biographical information there as well as information related to the works being presented at Media City Seoul.  Photos are forthcoming (installation views, ideally!) and we hope that you’ll find some good information there.

Comments and suggestions are appreciated.

PHOTOS: Kim Sung Hwan

24 Aug

Kim Sung Hwan brought his newly completed video work, Corn and Washing the Brain, which will be presented for the first time at Media City Seoul 2010.  Here, the artist and Media City Seoul Artistic Director Kim Sunjung talk while technicians prep the projection.

And here are the first images of Kim’s new video, projected on the wall of the office (just to make sure the files are compatible):

Media City Artists on Hugo Boss Prize Shortlist

18 Aug

While this is not “current news,” it certainly deserves mention and full context here.

The 2008 Hugo Boss Prize trophy (courtesy of Hugo Boss Lifestyle eMag Arts Sponsorship)

The Hugo Boss Prize, sponsored by the German menswear company of the same name, is awarded biannually to “honor innovation in contemporary art,” according to Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Guggenheim Museum in New York and chair of the prize’s jury committee.

The prize, which awards $100,000 and a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim, has been in existence since 1996 and ranks with the Turner Prize, the Bucksbaum Award, the Preis der Nationalgalerie für Junge Kunst, and the Artes Mundi Prize as one of the most prestigious in the world. Past winners include a veritable who’s-who of movers and shakers in the contemporary art world: Matthew Barney (1996), Douglas Gordon (1998), Marjetica Potrč (2000), Pierre Huyghe (2002), Rirkrit Tiravanija (2004), Tacita Dean (2006), and Emily Jacir (2008).

In October 2009, six artists were nominated to the shortlist for the award:

  1. Cao Fei, Chinese multimedia artist
  2. Hans-Peter Feldmann, German conceptual artist
  3. Roman Ondák, Slovakian performance artist
  4. Walid Raad, Lebanese media artist
  5. Natascha Sadr Haghighian, German video/performance artist
  6. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thai filmmaker

Walid Raad

Plates 57 & 58, "Already Been in a Lake of Fire," 2004 (courtesy of The Atlas Group / Sfeir Semler Galerie / Anthony Reynolds Gallery; photo © Walid Raad)

Walid Raad, originally from Chbanieh, Lebanon, now living and working in New York, is a media artist whose practice is focused on themes related to the Lebanese civil wars of the late 20th century.  Operating under the auspices of The Atlas Group, an imaginary non-profit research group based in Beirut and devoted to the documentation of contemporary Lebanese history, Raad has created a body of work drawn from the group’s “archives” that serves as a critique of traditional modes of historical record-keeping while maintaining its subversive artistic imperative.  Throughout his ouevre, Raad continually probes the conventions of documentation and representation through photographic, video, and literary means.  He was honored with the Alpert Award in Visual Arts in 2007.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Production still from "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives," 2010 (courtesy Kick The Machine Films)

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, born in Bangkok in 1970, lives and works in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  His film projects, which range  from a few minutes to feature-length films, are all set in his native Thailand and produced by Kick the Machine, the independent production company he launched in 1999.  His work often deals with such disparate topics as dreams, sexuality, memory, and Western perceptions of Asia.  All this is underscored by an unsettling nonlinear fluidity of time and space, enhanced by a nontraditional cinematography that often indulges in extended takes and tracking shots.  He is mostly widely recognized as the director of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall Past His Lives (2009), which won him the prestigious Palme d’Or prize at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

Three other artists participating in 2010 Media City Seoul have been previously honored by the Hugo Boss Prize: Douglas Gordon won the prize in 1998; Willem de Rooij was nominated to the shortlist in 2004, Tino Seghal in 2006.  The prize will be announced on 4 November, just as Media City Seoul enters its final phase, and you can bet we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for Messrs. Raad and Weerasethakul.  Stay tuned!