Kukje Gallery will participate in Art Basel Miami Beach at the Miami Beach Convention Center from December 5 to 8, 2019. Art Basel is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s top art fairs, occurring annually in Hong Kong (March), Basel (June), and Miami Beach (December). Art Basel Miami Beach, launched in 2002, provides an invaluable overview of contemporary art especially within North and South America. For the fair’s 18th iteration, there will be 269 participating galleries representing 33 countries from all over the world including the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, with 20 galleries exhibiting for the first time. On view will be a variety of programs offered in different “sectors” beginning with Galleries, which includes leading international galleries; Kabinett, which introduces curated exhibitions based on an art-historical approach; Meridians, which is a new sector curated by Magalí Arriola, the Director of Museo Tamayo, that features approximately thirty ambitious and monumental presentations pushing the boundaries of a traditional art fair layout; the remaining sectors include Positions, Nova, Survey, Edition, and Conversations.
Kukje Gallery will showcase paintings, installations, and video works by both Korean and international modern and contemporary artists. The booth will highlight important pieces by Dansaekhwa artists including Park Seo-Bo’s Ecriture series Ecriture (描法) No.071204 (2007) and Ha Chong-Hyun’s new work from his iconic Conjunction series titled Conjunction 19-25 (2019). Park is currently the subject of an eponymous solo exhibition (on view through March 29, 2020) at the Langen Foundation in Neuss, Germany, while an early Conjunction piece by Ha titled Conjunction 74-26 (1974) is on view at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, as part of the institution’s newly rehung collection exhibition. Situated on the fourth floor of the museum alongside other seminal artworks from the 1940s to the 1970s—including Jackson Pollock, Donald Judd, Mark Rothko, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol— Ha’s painting is located in a gallery organized around the theme “War Within, War Without,” highlighting the postwar context out of which the artist emerged. This historic framing highlights the artist’s iconic decision to appropriate burlap (originally used to carry USAID rations after the Korean War) as a ground for his signature process of oil painting, as well as underscoring Ha’s lasting influence on subsequent generations of contemporary artists.
The booth will also showcase works by a roster of leading international contemporary artists including DNA of Love (2018) by Jean-Michel Othoniel and The Show Must Go On (2019) by the Danish artist trio SUPERFLEX. Employing mirrored glass beads as the primary material, Othoniel’s sculpture not only formally evokes the exquisitely knotted strands of a DNA helix, but also plays with infinity through the complex reflections on the mirrored surfaces. Six of Othoniel’s new paintings are currently on view at the Louvre for a solo exhibition titled La Rose du Louvre in celebration of the 30th anniversary of its iconic glass Pyramid. While initially planned as a temporary exhibit, in October the Louvre has announced its acquisition of Othoniel's paintings, and that they will be permanently installed amidst the garden statuary of the 17th and 18th centuries in the Puget Courtyard. This is the Louvre’s first commissioned acquisition of contemporary art in a decade, and also the first-ever occasion for two-dimensional and contemporary works to be installed in the Puget Courtyard. SUPERFLEX’s The Show Must Go On is a wall mounted, illuminated signboard made with blue LED letters, mounted on an aluminum frame. Presenting a familiar phrase as a LED light sign installation reminiscent of a commercial billboard, the work transforms the nature of commercial signage, confronting the viewer and invoking reflections on the meaning and reach of the famous expression. In May, SUPERFLEX installed One Two Three Swing!, a public work installed near the DMZ at the Dora Observatory in Paju in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Denmark and South Korea. A modular three-seated swing set, One Two Three Swing! is designed to promote collective effort and collaboration. SUPERFLEX is also the subject of a solo exhibition titled In our dreams we have a plan at Kukje Gallery’s Busan branch through November 30.
The Kabinett sector is comprised of 28 curated exhibitions and will feature new work by Elmgreen & Dragset, who recently opened a solo exhibition titled Elmgreen & Dragset: Sculptures at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas (on view through January 5, 2020). Titled Before The Storm, the duo’s Kabinett exhibition will consist of five sculptures, each continuing their interest in swimming pools which serves as a reference to Powerless Structures, Fig. 11 (1997), a diving board installed emerging from a window at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, located on the outskirts of Copenhagen; Powerless Structures, Fig. 13 (2015), previously on view at Punta della Dogana in Venice; as well as Death of a Collector (2009), their iconic installation of an art collector floating face down in his swimming pool at the 53rd La Biennale di Venezia. The artists’ installation is also in dialogue with Bent Pool (2019) which will be permanently installed outside the Miami Beach Convention Center to coincide with Miami Art Week. A commissioned project for Miami Beach, once known mostly as a coastal resort city, this sculptural installation features a swimming pool folded in half, its ends nearly touching. Aesthetically Minimalist, Bent Pool, along with the works in the Kabinett booth, relate to the context of Miami and invite the viewer to consider multiple interpretations; although immediately evocative of leisure and enjoyment, this installation invites discourse on private and public environments, the physicality of the body in space, human vulnerabilities, and the challenges of coexistence. The pool theme also relates to the duo’s previous large-scale public sculptures, including Van Gogh’s Ear (2016) at Rockefeller Center, New York. Van Gogh’s Ear will be permanently installed outside the K11 MUSEA in Hong Kong in December of 2019.
Kukje Gallery’s booth will also feature Mill City Dude (2009), an early version of the Korean contemporary artist Haegue Yang’s anthropomorphic light sculptures. The only piece from the light sculptures series that can be placed outdoors, this work was first introduced on the occasion of Yang’s 2009 solo exhibition at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis titled Haegue Yang: Integrity of the Insider. Consisting of found objects from the city of Minneapolis including a postcard rack, cup holder, and fishing rods, these seemingly unrelated elements are arranged sculpturally so as to evoke certain archetypes of the human body. Internationally renowned, earlier this month Haegue Yang was ranked 36 in ArtReview’s 2019 Power 100 list. The highest-ranked Korean luminary of all time, the artist’s recent solo exhibition at Kukje Gallery titled When The Year 2000 Comes had been visited by more than 10,000 people when it closed on November 17. Yang’s commissioned installation for The Museum of Modern Art, titled Handles (through April 12, 2020; presented as part of The Hyundai Card Performance Series), is currently on view. In addition, Yang is currently the subject of a major solo exhibition titled In the Cone of Uncertainty (on view through April 5, 2020) at The Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach.
In the Cone of Uncertainty foregrounds Yang’s ongoing exploration into the world and her tireless experimentation with materializing the complexity of identities in flux. Living between Seoul and Berlin, Yang employs industrially produced quotidian items, digital processes, and labor-intensive craft techniques. She mobilizes and enmeshes complex, often personal, histories and realities vis-à-vis sensual and immersive works by interweaving narrative with form. Often evoking performative, sonic, and atmospheric perceptions with heat, wind, and chiming bells, Yang’s environments appear familiar, yet engender bewildering experiences of time and place.
The exhibition presents a selection of Yang’s oeuvre spanning the last decade—including window blind installations, anthropomorphic sculptures, light sculptures, and mural-like graphic wallpaper—taking its title from an expression of the South Florida vernacular that describes the predicted path of hurricanes. Alluding to our eagerness and desperation to track the unstable and ever-evolving future, this exhibition addresses current anxieties about climate change, overpopulation, and resource scarcity. Framing this discourse within a broader consideration of movement, displacement, and migration, the exhibition contextualizes contemporary concerns through a trans-historical and philosophical meditation of the self.