Park Chan-kyong

25 May — 2 Jul 2017 at the Kukje Gallery in Seoul, South Korea

Park Chan-kyong. Courtesy of Kukje Gallery
Park Chan-kyong. Courtesy of Kukje Gallery
12 MAY 2017

Kukje Gallery will hold a solo exhibition of work by Park Chan-kyong titled 安寧 Farewell, from May 25 to July 2. Park’s first solo show in Korea in five years, the exhibition will feature Citizen’s Forest (2016), a video work that debuted at the Taipei Biennial 2016. In addition, the exhibition will showcase new works that utilize a diverse range of media, including the artist’s object sculptures and slide projector installations. Park Chankyong first became known as an art critic in the 1990s. His first major exhibition as a visual artist was in 1997 at the Kumho Museum of Art titled Black Box: Memory of the Cold War Images. Park’s practice is celebrated for its multidisciplinary approach and he has garnered praise for transcending genres as a media artist, film director, critic, and curator.

Park’s work explores the changing roles of artists in the contemporary world. His work frames modern and contemporary Korean history, engaging complex socio-political subjects including the Cold War, the conflict between the two Koreas, folk religion, and the (re)construction of history. His multi-media works contemplate Korean society, grappling with Korea’s rapid socioeconomic progress that bypassed the necessary postwar reflection and psychological healing.

Citizen’s Forest, the centerpiece of this exhibition, was inspired by the poet Kim Soo-young’s (1921 –1968) work The Great Root and the painter Oh Yoon’s (1946 – 1986) The Lemures. Park uses works by the two celebrated cultural figures, applying their critical assessment of the zeitgeist during the advent of modern Korean identity to relevant historical events. The video captures Park’s lament over the countless nameless lives lost in the tragic chaos of Korean modern and contemporary history, including the Donghak Peasant Revolution (1894), the Korean War (1950-1953), the Gwangju Uprising (1980), and the recent Sewol Ferry Disaster (2014). Citizen’s Forest is a three-channel video consisting of images from a feature-length film script conceived by Park. These images are displayed as a panoramic installation sprawling across the exhibition space like a traditional Korean landscape scroll painting.

Park Chan-kyong graduated from Seoul National University in 1988 with a BFA in Painting, later studying photography at the California Institute of the Arts in 1995. In the 1990s, he was a founding member of the Art Criticism Research Association, Forum A, and Art Space Pool. More recently, Park served as the Artistic Director of SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul in 2014. Significant works include Black Box: Memory of the Cold War Images (1997), SETS (2000), Power Passage (2004), Flying (2005), Sindoan (2008), and the feature-length film Manshin (2013).

Park has exhibited at major international venues and exhibitions including the Taipei Biennial (2016), Anyang Public Art Project (2016), Iniva in London (2015), Art Sonje Center (2013), Atelier Hermès (2008, 2012), REDCAT Gallery in Los Angeles (2010), SSamzie Space (2005), Frankfurter Kunstverein (2005), and De Appel in Amsterdam (2003), among many others.

Park Chan-kyong was awarded the Hermès Korea Art Award in 2004, and the Golden Bear for best short film at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2011 for Night Fishing, which he co-directed with the film Director Park Chan-wook. Park’s works are in the permanent collections of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; KADIST Art Foundation, Paris and San Francisco; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, Nantes; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; Seoul Museum of Art; Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Ansan; and Art Sonje Center, Seoul.

Preceding the Kukje Gallery exhibition, Park’s work will be included in a group exhibition titled 2 or 3 Tigers at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Germany, from April 21 to July 3, 2017. The artist will present Kyoto School (2017), a new work about a group of Kyoto University elites that came to be known as the ‘Kyoto School’ in the post-World War I 1930s and the “kamikazes” of World War II. In addition, Park’s video installation, Citizen’s Forest (2016), has been selected to show in Switzerland at this year’s Unlimited sector at Art Basel 2017 in June.