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  • Sep 13, 2018

Curator and Artists Announced For 2019 Venice Biennale’s Korean Pavilion

The Arts Council Korea (ARKO) announced the appointment of Hyunjin Kim as curator of the Korean Pavilion for the 2019 Venice Biennale. Kim has selected three female artists to feature in the upcoming pavilion: Hwayeon Nam, Siren Eun Young Jung and Jane Jin Kaisen. The presentation will be based on “women and gender-diversified narratives that interrupt, break away from, and reconstruct previous understandings of modernization in the region of East Asia.” The official title of the exhibition and more about the artists' newly produced works will be announced later in the year.

A selection committee put together by ARKO nominated Kim from a shortlist of five candidates. The decision to appoint Kim was based on her proposal, which showed potential to deconstruct and challenge dominant ideological narratives, highlighting regional history and archives through universal themes of tradition versus modernity, gender and sexuality. Kim is currently the Kadist lead curator for Asia at the Paris- and San Francisco-based nonprofit organization, and was previously the director of Seoul’s Arko Art Center from 2014 to 2015 and has worked in curatorial capacities for the Ilmin Museum (2013) and Art Sonje Center (2001–03). She has co-curated numerous critical exhibitions and projects worldwide, including the 7th Gwangju Biennale, “2 or 3 Tigers,” with Anselm Franke, at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin in 2017, and “Plug-In #3: Undeclared Crowd” at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven in 2006.

Among the artists to be featured, Berlin- and Seoul-based performance, video and sound artist Hwayeon Nam is best known for her multimedia installations and video works, such as Coréen 109 (2014) and Ghost Orchid (2015), which examine social systems and the subjective experience of space, time and objects. Her two-channel video The Botany of Desire (2014/15) revolves around the 17th-century Dutch tulip mania and the stock market crash of 2010, and was featured at the 56th Venice Biennale’s main exhibition, “All the World’s Futures,” curated by Okwui Enwezor.

Siren Eun Young Jung delves into historical archives to trace forgotten narratives. Since 2008 she has focused on Yeoseong Gukgeuk—a Korean all-female theater genre that was popular in the 1950s and '60s—as a means of exploring wider questions around queer artistic practices and identity politics. Her research on Yeoseong Gukgeuk culminated in a project comprising films, photographs, performances and installations, which recently won her the 2018 Korea Artist Prize, held at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Seoul. She has exhibited her works widely, including at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art in Singapore, Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the 11th Gwangju Biennale.

Jane Jin Kaisen is a Berlin-based filmmaker and visual artist from Jeju Island, whose narrative works look into transnational identities and histories. She was the 2007–08 fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, and has exhibited, screened and lectured extensively in exhibitions such as the 7th Liverpool Biennial, the 68th Berlin International Film Festival, the 6th Gwangju Biennale and “Soil and Stones, Souls and Songs” (2017) at Para Site, Hong Kong.

The 58th Venice Biennale will take place from May 11 to November 24, 2019.

Julee WJ Chung is the assistant editor of ArtAsiaPacific.

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