Interview with Kim Hong-hee

About Gyeonggido Museum of Art
and Nam June Paik Rhapsody in Video:

There is a new contemporary art museum in Gyeonggido, Korea. Gyeonggido surrounds Seoul and is one of the largest and most affluent provinces in Korea. As the first invited director of this museum, Kim Hong-hee speaks about her visions for the museum. Furthermore, as the artistic director for the KBS (Korean Broadcasting Station) 80th Anniversary Special Exhibition Nam June Paik Rhapsody in Video, she speaks about staging Paik’s artworks of the 90’s, his golden years.

August 8, 2007 by Mina Cheon

MC: Please talk about the local/global concerns for the Gyeonggido museum. As a local museum, how are you planning on shaping the museum’s goals and visions for the future?

KHH: I am interested in researching international museums that hold reign as significant local museums as well as being international (such as the Louisiana Museum in Denmark) and rather than starting relationships with mainstream museums of North American and central Europe, the network will start with museums of Scandinavia or Latin America, for example, museums that signify periphery as a strategy. Due to the fact that Gyeonggido is in the suburb of Seoul, I take that as the theme for the vision of the future museum where the peripheral space gains attention for its regional concerns and builds on being global afterwards. At the same time, the international programming will hopefully bring cultural exchange from other locations so that the museum can illuminate and educate the public in diverse ways. Furthermore, there are a lot of local families that visit the museum and the outdoor park that surrounds it, so it is a great opportunity to have a public outdoor landmark with the museum.

MC: You mention the importance of the programming; would you talk more about that?

KHH: The main features of the exhibition will be an annual exhibition that is dedicated to exploring themes of the province such as the one we had this year, the sculpture garden and green project Line in Space: 2007 Sculpture Project, and then the goal is to develop the museum’s programming with project-based events, residencies, and international exchange programs. All of this is to create a national and international, local and global museum, which places activity and liveliness ahead of anything else. Furthermore, there are some things that are seasonal to consider, for example, the summer time is an important exhibition time for youngsters so this year, we are currently showing Charge Your Imagination exhibition which displays contemporary Korean artists with artworks that are visually and conceptually stimulating as well as with some artworks that can be touched and climbed on. Essentially, what makes the Gyeonggido Museum different is that the museum’s main focus and attention, the energy and resource, is on the programming, which will change each year and be worked on and researched. Hence, the museum is directed towards a movement forward.

MC: Many international museums house collections which are essentially the same (blockbuster pre-modern to modern artworks), how is this museum different, what does it house, and how will you maintain a program based museum rather than collection based museum?

KHH: The Gyeonggido Museum is a museum that focuses more on programming (active) and also intends to house a contemporary collection that fits the identity of the museum. The museum already has about 200 contemporary art works and we have currently provided touring exhibitions from this collection, which travels around Gyeonggido.

MC: Let’s talk about the Nam June Paik exhibition at KBS. I found your exhibition interesting since it was exhibited at KBS rather than a museum and because it was a site-specific exhibition, can you speak more about the exhibition layout, staging, and theatrics of Paik’s artwork for the exhibition Rhapsody in Video?

KHH: I wanted the exhibition not to be a retrospective of Paik’s work but for it to highlight his golden years, the 90’s, where his work was in my opinion, most elaborate and sensational. I wanted to dedicate the exhibition to this time period that highlighted his multiple monitors’ series. One way to do this was to dim the lights and have a dark exhibition space. The light level accentuates the light in the screens while the space was bright enough for the sculptural component of the work not to be missed as well. Although Paik’s earlier works are complimented more, some people say they were more meditative and technologically experimental, Paik’s work of the later years needs to be recognized as being fantastic and different from the earlier period. Some say that his multi-monitor gave an impression of a type of Paik-mannerism, but what I wanted to convey is the power in such works. They are fantastic, heroic, and poetic, hence the title Rhapsody in Video. Moreover, just like his constantly changing video, the pieces are not meant to be seen in a glance or from one perspective. By taking out all the partitioning walls of the exhibition space, the pieces are staged so that they can be viewed from multiple perspectives, creating a kind of topographic media landscape. The piece Turtle is especially fantastic from all angles. You can also see the entire exhibition from the top floor as if standing on an observation booth.

MC: What were the difficulties in putting this exhibition together, what do you believe is the highlight, and what is the general response of it?

HKK: The most difficult aspect of the exhibition planning was utilizing a space that was not originally intended for artwork display. The highlight of the exhibition, other than the absolutely gigantic turtle piece, is the three satellite pieces that are projected side by side so that people can walk through them to watch it one at a time or at once simultaneously. Since this is the KBS’s 80th anniversary, and since KBS was one of Paik’s supporting broadcasting stations, it made sense that Paik is celebrated this way for the occasion. The public and media response is positive, the critics like it too.

Kim Hong-hee, currently director of Gyeonggido Museum of Art; was director of SSamzie Space, alternative art space of Korea; artistic director of the 6th Gwangju Biennale 2006 Fever Variations; commissioner for the Korean Pavilion in the 50th Venice Biennale 2003; curator of the special exhibition, ‘InfoArt’, for the Gwangju Biennale 1995; main exhibition commissioner for the Gwangju Biennale 2000; international committee member Yokohama Triennale 2001; curator of ‘Hightech Art in Korea’ of SeOUL-NYmAX 1994; and published several books including Good Morning Mr. Paik (2007, 1999, 1992), Discourse and Sites of Modern Art I, (2003), and Feminism, Video, Art (1998).

Gyeonggido Museum of Art

80th Anniversary KBS (Korean Broadcasting Station) Special Exhibition

Nam June Paik Rhapsody in Video

Exhibition at Special Exhibition Hall in KBS New Bld., Yeoido, Seoul

July 27 – December 30, 2007

The 6th Gwangju Biennale 2006

Fever Variations

#permalink posted by Mina Cheon: 8/09/07 10:13:00 PM


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