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Artspace Germany, SNU MoA’s Exhibition on Contemporary German Art

  • September 20, 2016
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Poster of Artspace Germany exhibition
Poster of Artspace Germany exhibition

The SNU Museum of Art (MoA) is currently holding its summer exhibition on German contemporary art. Organized in cooperation with IFA (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen; Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations) and Goethe-Institut Korea, “Artspace Germany” features 13 artists who have contributed to shaping contemporary German art.

This exhibition highlights the cultural diversity of German art. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall at the end of the 20th century, Germany has become an increasingly diverse society, with about 20% of the current population having an immigrant background. The exhibition reflects the demographics of this new Germany. Representing various ethnicities, the 13 artists – Armando, Candice BREITZ, Tony CRAGG, Marianne EIGENHEER, Ayşe ERKMEN, Christine HILL, Magdalena JETELOVÁ, Per KIRKEBY, Joseph KOSUTH, Marie-Jo LAFONTAINE, Nam June PAIK, Giuseppe SPAGNULO and Herman DE VRIES – are portrayed as “spiritual nomads” who find their artistic inspiration by moving to and from many regions.

Joseph Kosuth, One and Three Pans, 1965
Joseph Kosuth, One and Three Pans, 1965

Although MoA organizers contend that contemporary art seems to be advancing toward universality in today’s era of globalization, the wide range of cultural influences that impacted the aesthetic identity of participating artists has resulted in diverse forms of artwork showcased in “Artspace Germany.” The works displayed in this exhibition clearly differ from one another in terms of their theme, intention, ambience and structure.

One of the artists is Korean-born Nam June Paik, a pioneer of video art. Paik moved to Germany in the early 1960s, when he first began incorporating television into his art. Such attempts later developed into video art. Paik’s 1997 work Internetbewohner (Internet dweller), which alludes to Big Brother from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, is made of surveillance cameras, polaroid cameras and other technical devices.

Nam June Paik, Candle TV, 1975
Nam June Paik, Candle TV, 1975

Marie-Jo Lafontaine, who is from Belgium, is now a professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe and the Universität der Künste Berlin. Her photography portrays fire as a fearful yet fascinating force that is both cathartic and destructive.

Marie-Jo Lafontaine; Jeder Engel ist schrecklich (Every angel is terrible), Homme cagoulé portant le feu, Bateau de feu
Marie-Jo Lafontaine; Jeder Engel ist schrecklich (Every angel is terrible), Homme cagoulé portant le feu, Bateau de feu

The artists use various media such as video recordings, rough pencil sketches, sculptures and paintings.

“Artspace Germany” will be on display until September 25, 2016. SNU Museum of Art is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. The admission fee for the general public is 3,000 won, and admission is free for SNU students, staff and faculty members.

Written by YOON Jiwon, SNU English Editor, jiwonyoon@snu.ac.kr
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, tlsmith@snu.ac.kr

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