Historicizing the Avant-Garde Context in Korea: From Experimental Arts to Collective Groups
Watch a recording of this program here.
The lecture will be given by the Institute’s alumna, Professor Yeon Shim Chung on the occasion of her latest edited book, Korean Art From 1953: Collision, Innovation, Interaction, published by Phaidon in June 2020. The discussion will focus on Korean experimental avant-garde art in the 1960s and 1970s and its global context. Professor Chung will be examining Korea’s reception and response to international trends such as earth art and time-based art forms. In particular, she explores the identity of Korean avant-garde art, which includes both early installations and performance art.
This talk examines in detail the collective groups such as A.G. (Avant-Garde), S.T. (Study & Time), and The Fourth Group in the late 1960s and 1970s, groups that stimulated the identity of Korean avant-gardism and initiated the conflicting issues of “body and gender,” “art and language,” and “art and environments.” By looking at early pieces in the history of Korean performance art in the late 1960s and early 1970s, we will understand the perception of female performers such as Jung Kangja. The talk also discusses Lee Seung-Taek’s immaterial “non-sculpture,” Kim Kulim’s experimental film work, and Lee Kun-Yong’s “Logical-Event,” the latter based on the mediation of “languages” and his own body. The talk ends with Lee Kang-so’s experimental work of 1973 called The Bar in the Gallery in which he installed a bar in the Myungdong Gallery during the socially oppressed military regime of the 1970s. Although Korean experimental art and early performance art were short-lived, diverse experiments marked the vernacular identity of Korean Avant-Garde art during this period.
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Yeon Shim Chung is a professor of the department of Art Studies (Art History and Theory) at Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea. She received her Ph.D. in art history at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Dr. Chung’s research interests encompass both modern and contemporary Western and East Asian art. Before teaching at Hongik, Dr. Chung was an assistant professor at art history department at FIT/SUNY in New York City and a researcher for the exhibition The Worlds of Nam June Paik at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1999. She also co-curated Faultlines (2018 Gwangju Biennnale Edition). In 2013, Chung compiled the critical anthology of Lee Yil, a major proponent of Dansaekhwa in post-war Korean art (Mijinsa, 2013; English translation published at Les Presses du réel, 2018). She authored several articles on Dansaekhwa at M+ Matters (Hong Kong), and monographs on Lee Bul, Nam June Paik, Park Hyun-Ki, and Korean experimental avant-garde artists. She published a book chapter in Visualizing Beauty: Gender and Ideology in Modern East Asia (2012); and has several monographs entitled Installation Art in Contemporary Space (2014), Korean Contemporary Art Now (2015), and Korean Installation Art (2018). Chung co-edited Korean Art from 1953: Collision, Innovation, Interaction (London: Phaidon, 2020).
Organized by the Contemporary Asia Forum at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts, and co-sponsored by the Grey Art Gallery.
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