Presenting leading-edge new media art from six Korean artists
active in the global contemporary art scene
October 31, 2015–March 13, 2016
SEATTLE, WA – SAM’s Asian Art Museum presents Paradox of Place:
Contemporary Korean Art, showcasing six prominent Korean artists active in
today’s global art scene. The first major exhibition of contemporary Korean art
in Seattle in a decade, the exhibition features intriguing new media art in
diverse forms—video and mixed-media installations, photography, and
sculpture—that all address paradox in Korean society: division and unification,
Korea and the world, self and others, past and present, beauty and ugliness,
reality and fantasy.
The artists of Paradox of Place share a common ground: they each take the
political, social, historical, and cultural situations of Korea fully into account and
add their personal experiences to their work. To illuminate this mix of the
personal and political, three of the six artists featured—Jung Yeondoo, Lim
Minouk, and Yee Sookyung—will travel to Seattle to speak about their work and
connect with museum patrons. Artists Lee Yongbaek, Noh Suntag, and Yang
Haegue round out this group of leading-edge artists.
“I’m thrilled to bring this fascinating exhibition to Seattle,” said Kimerly
Rorschach, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO. “It represents a
wonderful collaboration between two curators: our own Xiaojin Wu and Choi
Eunju, our first in-residence visiting curator sponsored by a grant from the
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.”
Because of its political division, Korea is infused with paradox. While the
economically vibrant southern half brings the world “Korean Wave”—cool
popular culture—the isolated and militaristic northern half generates unsettling
worldwide news daily. The North-South Korea division is not the only sociopolitical
context contemporary Korean artists live in; they’ve also experienced
military dictatorships and democratization, modernization, and globalization.
Their life experiences, however unsettling they might be, provide rich subject
matter for their work.
Paradox of Place was curated by Xiaojin Wu, SAM’s Curator of Japanese and
Korean Art, in collaboration with Ms. Choi Eunju, former chief curator of the
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.
“Korean artists have been at the forefront of contemporary video art for years,”
says Xiaojin Wu, Curator of Japanese and Korean Art. “This show includes
incredible examples of video while expanding to display the wide range of new
media work these artists are engaging in. There’s also photography, mixedmedia
installation, and sculptures created with non-traditional methods—
including a piece made with a 3D printer. This group of artists each reveal
something personal—but together, they also capture an expression of
contemporary Korean life and of the global world we live in now.”
The exhibition is co-organized by the Seattle Art Museum and National Museum
of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. The exhibition is made possible with
generous support from the Korea Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon
Foundation. Endowment support was provided by the Anne Gerber
Endowment. Media sponsor is The Stranger.