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ART IN FOCUS

Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho   The Korean Pavilion | 56th Venice Biennale

The Korean artist duo Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho presents The Ways of Folding Space & Flying (2015), a new multi-channel film installation, explores an archaeological quest into human civilization that interweaves history with visions of the future as told through a future-retrospective narrative.

It also alludes to the institutional structure and historic evolution of la Biennale di Venezia itself, the scale and influence of which have been acquired within a shifting socio-political landscape.

The title of the project stems from the Korean words chukjibeop and bihaengsul. Originating from Taoist practice, chukjibeop means a hypothetical method of contracting physical distance and of allowing one to travel a substantial distance in a short space of time. Bihaengsul refers to another supernatural power, based on one of the oldest human desires, to levitate, fly and travel across time and space. In the history of Eastern culture, these ideas have been explored not only as means of meditative practice but also as methods to reach a state of complete emancipation of both mind and body from physical limitations and natural forces. They reflect the human desire to surpass the physical and perceived barriers and structures that bind us, despite the apparent absurdity of such imaginings. While some scientific theories and hypotheses have supported the possibility of realising such ideas, they remain largely in the realms of parable and fantasy, epitomising our intrinsic yearning to transform the world around us.

Moon and Jeon’s previous projects, such as News from Nowhere (2012), focused on creating an interdisciplinary and transnational platform. This involved scholars and experts from various academic and professional fields, such as philosophy, science, film, design and architecture. The platform was intended to yield a concrete outcome: a film, publication or an archival exhibition that documented the collaborative process. Questions formed and considered through the platform were centred on the function and meaning of art, while acknowledging the constantly evolving nature of the topic. The past participants of the project include the architects Toyo Ito and MVRDV, composer Toshi Ichiyanagi, curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, fashion designers Tsumura Kosuke and KUHO, film director Lee Changdong, and poet Ko Un among many others.

The artists continue their quest in The Ways of Folding Space & Flying, heading towards an unknown future that is at once an end and an origin. The project is part of an ongoing inquiry for Moon and Jeon to make sense of what they perceive as a fundamental function of art in the increasingly uncertain and precarious environment we are collectively facing. Instead of trying to provide a definitive thesis, the artists propose ways of imagining the future where existing notions of art and creativity may no longer be relevant. As with the seemingly illogical and ludicrous concepts of chukjibeop and bihaengsul, for them, art is a crucial yet curiously unexplainable facet of complex human desires that compel us to imagine, dream, wonder and challenge.

MOON KYUNGWON & JEON JOONHO’s recent artistic endeavors center on News from Nowhere, a collaboration project that focuses on creating an interdisciplinary platform. News from Nowhere series was first presented at Kassel dOCUMENTA 13 (2012) which expanded as a sitespecific project as it travelled to the Sullivan Galleries, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2013). The next edition of the project will unveil at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich in August 2015. The duo has participated in other notable group exhibitions including Fukuoka Triennale, Fukuoka (2014); Beyond and Between, Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2014); Singapore Art Biennale, Singapore (2013); Home Works 6, Beirut Art Center, Beirut (2013); Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2013); and Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju (2012). MOON & JEON were the recipient of Multitude Art Prize by Multitude Foundation (2013); Noon 2 Award at Gwangju Biennale (2012); 2012 Korea Artist Prize, co-organized by the National Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, Korea and SBS Foundation (2012).

MOON KYUNGWON lives and works in Korea. She received an M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts, U.S. and M.F.A. & B.F.A. from Ewha Womans University, Korea. Selected solo exhibitions include PROMISE PARK, Yamaguchi Center for Art and Media, Yamaguchi (2014); GREENHOUSE, Gallery Hyundai, Seoul (2010); and Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka (2004). Notable group exhibitions include Art and Collective Intelligence, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, Yamaguchi (2013); Talin International Film Festival, Talin (2011); Plastic Garden, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2010); A Different Similarity, Central Istanbul, Istanbul (2009); and Now Jump_Opening Show, Nam June Paik Art Center, Yongin (2008).

JEON JOONHO divides his time between Busan and Seoul, Korea. He received an M.A. from Chelsea College of Art and Design, U.K. and a B.F.A. from Dongeui University, Korea. Selected solo exhibitions include His Niche, Gallery Hyundai, Seoul (2014); Bless You, SCAI the Bathhouse, Tokyo (2009); Hyper Realism, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris (2008), Arario Gallery, Cheonan (2008) and Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York (2007). Notable group exhibitions include Lifelike, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2012); Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama (2011); Your Bright Future, LACMA, LA and The Museum of Fine Art, Houston (2009); Metamorphosis, Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris (2008); and All About Laughter, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2007).


CREDITS

Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho | filmed by Out of Sync | Venice May 2015
Interview | Jesper Bundgaard
Camera and edit | Per Henriksen
Producer | Out of Sync
Artworks courtesy | Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho

© Out of Sync 2015
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