Art Sonje Open Call #2: Our hesitant dialogues
July 11 – August 18, 2013
2F Art Sonje Center
Art Sonje Open Call #2: Our hesitant dialogues
Our hesitant dialogues curated by Sunghui Lee, deals with conflicts between generations and lack of their communication. This exhibition seeks to expand the process of communication between young artists in their 30s and their parents. Poor communication often leads to social issues. It is certain that contemporary arts employs failure of communication as its topic, even though a substantial number of artworks tend to look outward. In this exhibition, the artists start a genuine conversation about their arts and lives with their parents – ignored communication partners by their children – despite their most intimate relationship.
Minja Gu, Soyung Lee, Hyungji Park, and Sunghui Lee executed four individual projects, and the processes and the results constructed the exhibition, each manifesting different interrelations with the parents through art practice. As projects progressed, the parents participated to each project bearing different roles such as artists, collaborators or as a representative of an art foundation. To discover new ways of a parent-child relation through art, each artist designed the parents’ roles based on her own knowledge on their hobbies, interests and professions.
1. Have you ever asked?
Soyung Lee, Kilchoon Lee, Myungsook Han
In Have you ever asked? Soyung Lee sets questions on art and life to her parents, each with professional background in their working fields, examining the mutual memories that the family shared. Often we experience how hard it is to have a logical conversation in a family, due to the tendency to become overly emotional reacting to each other. Thus in this family the artist daughter chose to leave a note with her questions written down on the breakfast table, while the parents could take their time writing back their answers one by one. The fundamental questions about the most lonely moment in life or about one’s complexes and dreams are not difficult questions, but scarcely asked in a family. When the parents answered about their hopes and thoughts, they reflected their own knowledge on history and statistics. The handwritten conversations among them are represented into a video of three different families’ conversations as the final result. The children who set the questions in the video simultaneously expose their inner thoughts. In Lee’s previous work, the interest lied in observations on how the culture and history relate to individuals, conflicts, and sensibility. In this project she attempts to look into the life of an individual through the frame of a family.
2. Gu & Yang Art Foundation
Minja Gu, Gu Jaeyu(Minja’s Father), Yang Huijung(Minja’s Mother)
Minja Gu juxtaposes the parent-child relationship into that of a foundation and an awarder, founding the “Gu & Yang Art Foundation” through which the economically unsuccessful artist receives financial support. The parents as the representative of the foundation confess not having had any other possibility than to support the art practice of the child, it being quite impossible without a constant financial backup. Also their envy for art has changed to concern for the reality that their daughter has faced as an artist. The family has general assemblies regularly to agree on the details of the identity, policy and activity of the foundation. The project switches the private relation to a public one, while resisting against the typical structure of a conventional art foundation. For example, each of their meetings are documented as a series of photography entitled Symmetric Exercises.
3. Your Painting
Hyungji Park, Changhee Yoo
In Your Painting Hyungji Park acknowledges her mother, who had started her activity as a sunday painter after the retirement, as an equal collaborator presenting a two-person-exhibition with her. They try to converse through the mutual act of ‘painting’ regardless of the level of professionalism, which is destined to fail due to their different view on the definition of a painting. For the daughter her mother’s hobby can’t be perceived as a real practice, while the mother finds ‘contemporary art’ to be incomprehensible and exclusive, negligent to the universal pursue of beauty. For this co-presentation they exchange the motifs of their paintings. The daughter’s suggestion for her mother’s painting was an artificially illuminated object in the nocturnal cityscape, while the mother presented traditional houses, a rice mill, and abandoned houses in the countryside, which are the reminiscent of her own childhood. The motifs clashed with the painting styles of each artist, as Park, focusing on the materiality and coincidental effects in her paintings, couldn’t find any interest in the objects that her mother suggested. Only after having heard about the background narrative of the places told by the mother, she could undertake the task to invent her own image. The mother, in contrast, intended to represent the abstract quality and materiality of her daughter’s painting, obtaining blurred images through shaky photographs of the suggested objects. Yet the mother found the satisfaction more in visualizing the nostalgic childhood on her canvas, while the daughter stressed the tension between the repetitive coincidences and mistakes marked on the painted surfaces, rather than transmitting a sense of beauty. Their dialogue is about different understandings of painting as well as questioning on the notion of borderline between the professionals and the sunday painters.
4. Youth Grow Old with Ease; but Achieve Studies with Difficulty
Sunghui Lee, Gocheon Jung Gil Lee
Through So-Nyeon-I-Ro Hak-Nan-Seong(Youth Grow Old with Ease; but Achieve Studies with Difficulty) Sunghui Lee curates an exhibition of her father who is an amateur calligrapher. Through this act of curating, Lee challenges her father’s knowledge on her life around the curatorial field. For 20 years since Gocheon – the pseudonym (hao) of Lee’s father – started calligraphy, he pursued his practice through self-guided readings of Confucians classics and calligraphy trainings, which was rewarded later with selections at national art competitions. His room is filled with diverse antique books, dictionaries and self-invented calligraphy gadgets. He also wrote some poems reflecting his life and sentiments, based on his interpretation of Toegye’s traditional poetry. For the family, his persistent engagement and practice of traditional calligraphy are un-noticeable, integrated into the normality of mundane everyday routine. Is Gocheon’s calligraphy just an odd hobby to his grown-up children? The curator daughter decides to observe his own realm of calligraphy that he has cultivated for 20 years.