Past Exhibition

Christian Jankowski: The Day We Meet

October 2 – November 9, 2003

3F Art Sonje Center

Christian Jankowski: The Day We Meet

Christian Jankowski was born in 1968 in Gottingen, Germany and graduated from Hamburg Art School, and is actively working in the international art scene. He began to draw attention when he showed his work in the 49th Venice Biennale, and since then he has had solo exhibitions at the Apple Foundation and Koln Contemporary Art Center. He also participated in 1997 Lyon Biennale, 1999 Venice Biennale, 2001 Berlin Biennale, and 2002 Whitney Biennale.

This project by Jankowski, who is displaying his first solo exhibition in Asia, begins from the experiences of the artist himself encountering Korean culture, and the meeting of Western and Asian culture. For the artist, ‘noraebang’ (karaoke room, or literally song-room) to sing Korean pop songs came to him as the most appropriate medium to communicate the mixed and compound feelings that he had upon encountering Korean society, and experiencing the cultural differences and cultural clash. The melody of K-pop goes beyond the language barrier, touches and communicates the basic human sensibility, and ‘noraebang’ is a temporary space to experience the eruption of such emotion.

The main characteristic of Christian Jankowski’s work is that he exquisitely fuses the reality as he experiences it as a human being and also as an artist within the art context. And by utilizing and transforming them, he crosses the boundaries between the everyday reality and the art cleverly. He inserts himself into the noraebang culture, and he communicates to others and makes the boundary between art and reality vague. This project, more than any other works, clearly shows the bafflement and the comical situation that one can experience in the ‘process’ of gyrating art and reality.

As a way to insert himself into Korean society, Jankowski made a ‘Karaoke clip’ entitled ‘the day we met.’ This ‘karaoke clip’ will remain as the visual result of this exhibition project and, like his other works, crosses the boundary between art and reality. Jankowski involved many collaborative partners in the working process including the script writer of the karaoke accompaniment console company, film director (TV romantic drama director) and the actors (female actors with modeling background).

Through these involvements, Jankowski delegated the completion of the ‘art’ of his work to these partners. Although intervention of the artist cannot be completely denied (since the final result remains as the artist’s own), but because he takes the role of the main character instead, he voluntarily gave up the ‘authority’ that he could have had as the artist who oversaw and controlled the whole process, and instead he entrusted the ‘fate’ of the artwork to the hands of the others.

Four scenarios out of ten chosen scripts were written by others based on the two pieces of information given: one that the basic premise of ‘the encounter between a man and a woman’ has to be included, and that the artist would pose as the main character. Kim Yeon Joo, the winner of 1999 Miss Korea beauty pageant and Kim Jin, CF model, were selected by the artist to appear on the video. This video was showcased on the monitor of a real karaoke accompaniment console in a real noraebang setting installed in the art museum throughout the duration of the exhibition, and the visitor could sing and view the clip as they would in a real life situation.

Also, in a noraebang setting outside the exhibition, the video by Christian Janokowski is connected with the selection of a certain song, and people who did not visit the art museum could encounter the video work by Janokowski accidentally by selecting the song.

Although we are revolted by the banal and surface expressions in K-pop songs, one cannot deny the mass appeal that they have. Likewise, although Janokowki’s work takes the banal concept of ‘an encounter’ between a man and a woman and the cultural cliche of noraebang culture, the persuasiveness of this project can be found in the perspective that noraebang served as the most effective mean to communicate and share the ‘encounter’ that the artist himself experienced.

In addition to this karaoke clip project, Janokowski’s previous projects are screened on the wall of the third floor exhibition hall and in the small theatre in the 1st basement floor so that his overall art world can be encountered here.

October 2 – November 9, 2003
3F Art Sonje Center
Christian Jankowski