Exhibition in Seoul, South Korea
From Berlin to Seoul, Crossing Horizons
07.07 – 24.08. 2023
Location 1: CHOI&CHOI Gallery SEOUL, 42 Palpan-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, 03054
Location 2: HORI Art Space, 3F Noah Building, 26, Apgujeong-ro 80-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
CHOI&CHOI Gallery, HORI Artspace, and AIF Lounge, in collaboration with Bermel von Luxburg Gallery, present 'From Berlin to Seoul: Crossing Horizons.' The exhibition celebrates a significant milestone in the cultural exchange between Germany and Korea, marking 140 years of artistic dialogue, collaboration, and mutual inspiration between the two nations. Following the success of the group exhibition 'Berlin meets Seoul: Being Human' in Berlin last year, this collaborative endeavour features the works of eight Korean artists and eight German artists. Whilst each of the 16 artists displays a unique approach to conveying their visual narratives, they share a common exploration of identity and existence.
Through their diverse artworks, the artists offer a captivating glimpse into the contemporary art scenes of both countries, whilst unveiling the interconnectedness of the human experience and the universality of artistic expression. Either through their own personal experiences or by examining broader societal and cultural contexts, they explore how individuals define themselves and their place in the world, often challenging established norms and questioning social constructs.
Many artists delve into forms of societal and cultural structures, which serve as a recurring motif in their artworks. Ung-pil Byen's portraits deliberately omit specific details to investigate how societal constructs, rooted in appearances, influence our understanding of culture and identity. Jihyung Song'ssite-specific installations explore communal reciprocity through audience participation, prompting viewers to contemplate their own identity within the context of social contracts and cultural practices.
Helena Parada Kim's Hanbok paintings, Jae Ho Jung's depictions of worn-out buildings, and Shinoh Nam's installations of architectural fragments all investigate the significance of cultural symbols. These works compel viewers to contemplate the interplay between individual and cultural identities and encourage reflection on collective histories and the ways in which we construct or deny them. They offer unique interpretations of the connection between objects and personal identities, shedding light on how conventions of the past continue to shape our lives today.
Some turn to the natural world to seek answers about our existence. Soyoung Chung’s conceptual installations examine how we define ourselves within the larger context of the world around us. Chung's exploration of identity expands beyond individual experiences to encompass the broader concept of our relationship with geopolitics or the laws of nature. Robert Pan creates abstract worlds evoking natural landscapes, celestial bodies, and chemical processes. Utilizing resin-based techniques influenced by nature and its processes, Pan explores new possibilities in embracing the natural world to advance one’s artistic vision.
Others like Peter Herrmann lean toward the mundanity of urban environments, depicting daily life situations, figures, city scenes, and everyday objects. Jeehye Song transforms the absurdity of our domestic life and daily activities into unusual situations and scenarios. Their shared emphasis on both humour and mundanity prompt viewers to re-examine the significance of their own existence within the context of the ordinary. Fritz Bornstückreassembles mundane items discarded by civilization through the process of "cultural recycling," giving new meaning to once ordinary and unwanted, thereby highlighting the absurdity of society’s current system of values.
Some artists challenge our conventional understanding of reality altogether through their exploration of the environments that surround us. Susanne Rottenbacher's light sculptures and installations utilize light and colour to dissolve boundaries and challenge corporeality. These transformative spaces defy established perceptions of reality, inviting viewers to contemplate their own presence and existence. In a similar vein, Taesoo Lee challenges our preconceived notions of the universe with his hyper-realistic sculptures. By manipulating materials and defying gravity, he disrupts our perception of the physical world, encouraging us, in turn, to reconsider our understanding of existence itself.
Explorations of the artists’ selves also manifests in their work. Sebastian Heiner taps into his personal history, drawing upon his first-hand experiences of witnessing the artistic principles from diverse cultures. He deftly weaves elements of Western and Eastern practices to complete his geometric tableaux of subconscious and forgotten dreams. Lev Khesin’s work explores his own identity as an artist, blurring the boundaries between painting and sculpture. He uses silicone and pigments to create lumps of coloured substance with a depth resembling precious stones. Khesin challenges established rules of painting and urges others to embrace new possibilities in defining the art form.
Both Wonkun Jun and David Lehmann delve into the realm of emotions and self-expression through their respective styles. Their mutual focus on materiality and the painting process itself attests to their continued exploration of what it means to be a painter. Jun’s paintings manifest his sensitivity and emotions through colour. He expresses his understanding of identity and existence as inherently connected to our emotions and how we perceive the world around us. Similarly, Lehmann captures his own intricate emotional and psychological states in his paintings, skilfully combining spontaneous brushstrokes and delicate touches to create a harmonious fusion of styles.