The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) and the Deoksugung Palace Management Office of the Cultural Heritage Administration present:
Deoksugung Outdoor Project: Light ∙Sound ∙ Landscape at Deoksugung Palace, the site
of the historic proclamation of the Korean Empire. Works by nine artists—Airan KANG, Minho KWON, Jinhui KIM, BangEan YANG, Jaewoo OH, Jinjoon LEE, Soosik LIM, Minseung JANG and Yeondoo JUNG —will be displayed in seven locations throughout the Palace compound from Friday, 1 September through Sunday, 26 November 2017.
Singular spaces, like the corridor opposite Hamnyeongjeon Hall, which will be opened to the public for the first time.
In 2012 MMCA presented the exhibition Deoksugung Project. Five years later, the
Deoksugung Outdoor Project: Light ∙ Sound ∙ Landscape will feature site-specific works
created and installed specifically for the different spaces of the palace as a way to bring history into the present and link contemporary art practices with national monumental heritage
The exhibition will serve to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the proclamation of the Korean Empire, a true declaration of independence, focusing not only on themes relevant to the period of the Proclamation but also on the current physical context of Deoksugung itself.
First inhabited as a royal palace by King Seonjo following the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592, Deoksugung Palace was also the site of the proclamation of the founding of the Korean Empire by Emperor Gojong in 1897, a declaration of sovereignty as well as a public statement to the world of Korea’s autonomy and independence. The artists who participate in Deoksugung Outdoor Project: Light, Sound, Landscape frequented Deoksugung Palace for several months, steeping themselves in its history and familiarizing with its unique physical features so as to be able to propose reinterpretations of both.
Deoksugung Outdoor Project: Light ∙ Sound ∙ Landscape has been designed so that visitors
can follow a traced route as they walk around the palace. The first stop upon entering through Daehanmun Gate at the palace entrance will be A Peony located at the corridor opposite Junghwajeon Hall, a work by BangEan YANG, music director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, and Minseung JANG, an artist and furniture designer who was once a member of the famous Hwang Shin-hye Band. In A Peony, JANG uses photographic slides as a medium to depict buildings and scenes of daily life from Korea’s modern period that survive today only in historical records. A composition by YANG serves as the soundtrack, making for an
experience that is both visually and aurally compelling.
The stairway and hallway connecting the main building and the annex of Seokjojeon Hall will be the location of installations by Jinhui KIM and Yeondoo JUNG. KIM is an artist who takes apart electronic devices and re-assembles them in new ways, revealing hidden forms and functions. For DEEP DOWN, she reworks MP3 speakers and radio equipment, providing audio to go along with images that present the tumultuous history that unfolded at Deoksugung Palace. JUNG’s Prism Effect is an installation of photographs of Emperor Gojong and Princess Deokhye during the Korean Empire. The photographs are grouped into four categories based on the “view” they present of the two figures: the public view, the private view, their experience of humiliation, and the view of the other, that is, foreign powers. They are displayed on a free-standing wall closed off on each side.
Past Seokjojeon Hall is Seogeodang Hall, the only two-story building in Deoksugung not painted in the traditional decorative color scheme known as dancheong. The wooden floored hall and porch area of Seogeodang Hall will be the site of Minho KWON’s large-scale drawing Landscape at the Beginning Point, in which the facade of Seogeodang is rendered as a landscape painting, with detailed depictions of Deoksugung and the surrounding area, past and present, hidden throughout.
The works of Airan KANG and Soosik LIM will be set up in Deokheungjeon Hall, which served as Emperor Gojong’s reception chamber. KANG, who has created lightbox installations based on historical material since 2008, will present her take on the emperor’s library in Luminous Days of the Korean Empire, which includes her recreations of books the emperor enjoyed reading as well as diplomatic documents and materials on court culture and art. LIM’s Chaekgado389 is the author’s imagined rendering of the kind of books that might have been depicted in a chaekgado (still-life painting of books and related furnishings) in Deokheungjeon Hall.
Hamnyeongjeon Hall, Emperor Gojong’s sleeping quarters and the place where he took his final breath, will be the site of Nowhere in Somewhere Series_Insomnia &HANABI, a projection of a video by Jinjoon LEE that imagines in images and sounds the
emotional state of Emperor Gojong during the final days of the Joseon Empire, when, in the face of growing Japanese pressure, he passed many sleepless nights.
The final stop of the exhibition is the corridor opposite Hamnyeongjeon Hall, which will be opened to the public for the first time. This spot will be the site of Jaewoo OH’s VR installation A Dream within a Dream. The artist said that Deoksugung represented for him the inception of Emperor Gojong’s grand dream to proclaim the new empire and open the door to a bright and hopeful future. His installation, which envisions Deoksugung as a place that has and will always be a place for dreaming, will allow visitors to lie down on the floor and watch VR-enhanced renderings of dreams.
In bringing together contemporary art and Korea’s rich cultural heritage, Deoksugung
Outdoor Project: Light ∙ Sound ∙ Landscape will give visitors a unique multi-sensory
experience, beckoning them into a time and space unlike any other, where explorations of light and sound are manifested against the backdrop of history.
From September to November, participating artists will be invited on an individual basis for intensive one-on-one talks with curators. Other related programming will include three special lectures, a video screening, and a performance. More detailed information can be found at the MMCA website (http://www.mmca.go.kr).
※ For general enquiries, please call +82-2-2022-0600 (Deoksugung Branch, MMCA)
※ For more information on the exhibition, please contact Curatorial Department 2 of MMCA