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  • Oct 22, 2021

On the Road: Weekly News Roundup

Detail from YUKI KIHARA

On October 16, New Zealand revealed “Paradise Camp” as the title of its pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale. Featuring work by Japanese-Samoan interdisciplinary artist Yuki Kihara and curated by Natalie King, the pavilion will explore “ongoing Sāmoa-New Zealand relations from a Fa’afafine (Sāmoa’s ʻthird gender’) perspective,” and will look broadly at island ecologies, climate change, queer rights, and decolonization in the process of dissecting post-impressionist painter Paul Gauguin’s gaze. To develop the show’s photography, video, and community programs, Kihara worked closely with the Fa’afafine community and filmed on-site in Upolu Island, Sāmoa, alongside a local production team of over 80 people. The project was initially prompted by academic and activist Ngahuia Te Awekotuku’s 1992 essay, which criticizes Gauguin’s exoticization of his Māori models, and expanded when Kihara saw Gauguin’s paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in 2008.

Portraits of (left) HAO JINGBAN and (right) EISA JOCSON. Courtesy Seoul Museum of Art.

On October 20, the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) announced Beijing-based artist and filmmaker Hao Jingban and Filipino choreographer, dancer, and artist Eisa Jocson as the corecipients of the 2021 SeMA-Hana Media Art Award, in recognition of their works at the 11th Seoul Mediacity Biennale, “One Escape at a Time.” Hao’s contribution to the exhibition is the 21-minute video essay I Understand . . . (2021), centered on civic movements and the limits and potentials of empathy, while Jocson’s video Superwoman: Empire of Care (2021) spotlights The Filipino Superwoman Band singing about the exploitation of frontline medical workers in the Philippines. The two were unanimously chosen by five judges, namely Ahn Kyuchul, artist and head of the SeMA Advisory Committee; Beck Jeesook, director of SeMA; Yung Ma, artistic director of “One Escape at a Time”; Susanne Pfeffer, director of Frankfurt’s Museum für Moderne Kunst; and June Yap, Singapore Art Museum’s director of curatorial, programs, and publications.

Portrait of PATRICK LEE. Photo by Deniz Guzel. Courtesy Frieze.

Frieze has designated Hyundai Gallery’s executive director, Patrick Lee, as the director of its new art fair in Seoul. Lee will officially leave the gallery and take up his new role in early November, bringing with him more than 15 years of gallery experience. He was previously a partner and director of Seoul’s One and J. Gallery, and served on the committee of Art Basel Hong Kong for the Discoveries and Insights sectors. For Frieze Seoul, which is now slated for September 2–5, 2022, at the Coex convention center in Gangnam district, Lee will work with Minju Kweon, the fair’s head of VIP relations, Asia, and Frieze’s global team. In partnership with the Galleries Association of Korea, the fair will showcase around 100 international galleries presenting contemporary, modern, and pre-modern art. Speaking of the fair, Lee expressed his excitement and said, “The best art fairs are the ones that inspire dialogue, exchange and create memorable moments for all of the players involved. Seoul is an amazing city with a well-known appreciation of the arts and is the perfect place to host a global art event of this calibre.”

A still from PANAH PANAHI’s Hit the Road (2021). Courtesy British Film Institute (BFI).

Panah Panahi’s 2021 film Hit the Road clinched the top prize at BFI London Film Festival on October 17, following its success at Festival de Cannes in May. The story revolves around a family of four as they drive across northwestern Iran toward an unknown destination to smuggle the eldest son out of the country. Shot in remote areas of Iran, the film includes songs that were popular before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which Panahi speculates is one of the reasons why Hit the Road won’t be released in Iran. Panahi reflected that he received great support and advice from his father, Jafar Panahi, the acclaimed Iranian film producer who is prohibited from making films and leaving Iran after being found guilty of “propaganda against the state.”

Portraits of (left to right) KIM SANGJIN, BANG JEONG-A, OH MIN, and CHOI CHAN SOOK. Courtesy National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.

On October 20, South Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) launched the Korea Artist Prize 2021 exhibition, on view until March 20, 2022. Co-organized by the SBS Foundation, the five-month-long group show features works and projects by the competition’s four finalists. Kim Sangin’s presentation “Lamp in video game use real electricity” looks into the impact of virtual-reality platforms on the real world; Bang Jeong-A’s large-scale paintings are featured in “Heumul-heumul,” which examines political and ecological systems; Oh Min’s five-channel multimedia installation Heterophony of Heterochrony (2021) offers an immersive experience of sound and lights; and Choi Chan Sook’s four-channel video installation qbit to adam (2021) connects the history of mining with cryptocurrency mining. The winner, who will receive a cash prize of KRW 10 million (USD 8,500) along with a gold plaque, will be announced in the first half of 2022.

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