Yiso Bahc: Lines of Flight
August 20 – October 23, 2011
Art Sonje Center
Yiso Bahc: Lines of Flight
Yiso Bahc has been known as an artist who introduced postmodern art theories to Korean art scene. His artistic career is divided into two periods. In the earlier period, he worked under the name of Mo Bahc from 1982 to 1994 while he moved to New York. In the later period, he returned to Seoul and started working as Yiso Bahc. In the former period, Bahc has done an intense search into his identity as an Asian immigrant artist, art and society, and his way of creation. This attitude manifests in the later period in a more reflective mode to investigate life, world, and universal values. Throughout his life, Yiso Bahc’s artistic attitude was constantly of a non-linear lineage towards a universal value on self, art, life, and the world. In that lineage, drawing was a domain where Bahc reflected upon his works, materialized his concepts, and communicated with the world. With help of Jang Un Kim as a co-curator, Yiso Bahc – Lines of Flight aims to establish a ground to access Bahc’s ideas by organizing the entire body of his drawings and closely examining the records he left.
Yiso Bahc – Lines of Flight is a retrospective of the artist, focusing on his drawings. Known as a conceptual and installation artist, Yiso Bahc ceaselessly recorded his ideas and stances with notes and drawings. In developing his works, he actively utilized drawings as a medium. For him drawing was yet another tool for materializing and developing his conceptual attitude and creative domain. The current exhibition will provide a meaningful insight into Yiso Bahc’s works, presenting 230 drawings and early paintings that resemble drawings in their essence.
For Yiso Bahc, drawing was more than a way to practice and develop skills. Rather, it was an artistic method to declare his thoughts and a part of a creative investigation to conceptually structure his ideas. His drawings can be categorized into three types: Drawing, Drawing Concept, and Installation Portfolio. Bahc’s Drawing is what we generally recognize as drawings, an expressive and proclamatory medium (while at the same time a type of expanded painting). Drawing Concept is drawings that concretely represent the conceptual side of his works. Installation Portfolio is drawings that Bahc repeatedly modified for productions and installations of his works. The current exhibition presents most of Bahc’s works that present elements of drawing. Through this, Yiso Bahc – Lines of Flight aims to examine the artist’s horizon of thoughts and expand understanding on drawing, a medium considered as the most basic practice of painting. The current exhibition does not view drawing as a mere form, and conceptually recontextualizes Bahc’s drawings by finding and establishing major keywords from his works. On the second floor, Bahc’s drawings and his early paintings that share elements of drawing present the theme of identity, ego, multi-culturalism, and social issues. Conceptual drawings and Installation Portfolios on the third floor will show Bahc’s reflection on positivity, communication, and a new utopia. The exhibition is organically structured to overview Bahc’s whole body of work, focusing on the works that were suggested, produced and installed in the exhibitions Bahc participated.
In addition, Bahc’s archival and documental materials will be hosted on the third floor of Art Sonje Center. The Artist’s records and archives will be presented, including 21 copies of the artist’s notes, pedagogical materials he used while teaching contemporary art and drawing, records of productions and installations of his works, publications he translated as Mo Bahc, and written interviews with the artist’s friends. With such a vast archive and documentation, Lines of Flight will provide an insight into the experience and memories of the artist’s life and his approach towards art.
Yiso Bahc found an alternative space, Minor Injury, in New York in 1985 and worked as its director until 1989. He worked as a Professor of Drawing Concept at SADI (1995-1999), and lectured at Kaywon School of Art & Design and Korean National University of Arts (2000-2003). He participated in a number of group exhibitions including the Vennice Biennale in 2003 and 2005, Yokohama Triennale in 2001, Gwangju Biennale in 1997, and Havana Biennial in 1994. He was awarded Artist of the Year by Arts Council Korea in 2006, Hermes Misulsang in 2002, and a painting award by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1991. On 26 April 2004, he died of a heart attack in his home studio.