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Eyes of a Curator, Tips for Viewing the VR Exhibition (6) Curator Choi Jae hyeok from Savina Museum of Contemporary Art

2016-06-20 l Hit 678

Eyes of a Curator, Tips for Viewing the VR Exhibition
(6) Curator Choi Jae hyeok from Savina Museum of Contemporary Art
Sangwoo Kang's Private Exhibition, ‘Stories Hovering Around Us’
Artist Sangwoo Kang’s private exhibition ‘Stories Hovering Around Us’ was lit with natural light, which exhibitions generally avoid, and furnished with a desk and a floor that enable viewers to sense a school feeling.
Artist Sangwoo Kang’s work is somewhat familiar. There are characters from fairy tales and animations, such as Sleeping Beauty and Ttori Janggun, in his work. However, if you look closely at his work, you can see its awkwardness, like Sleeping Beauty sleeping haphazardly on her stomach and characters with long faces. As mentioned above, the artist acquired motifs from cartoons, animations, fairytales, and biographies that he read or watched during his childhood. However, he focuses not on reproducing those characters, but on visualizing the emotions he had while watching them at the time.
Choi Jae hyeok, the curator at Savina Museum of Contemporary Art who planned the exhibition, explained, “These days, we live in the era of interactive communication and users can look for the content they want. In the 1980s, the artist was in his early years and people just had to accept TV programs one-sidedly. Looking back, the artist felt that the content he received back then was too violent, sexual, and unrealistic. The horror he felt from seeing a beauty sleeping in the middle of a forest, the fear he received from witnessing a scene of a witch performing magic, and the realization of those days’ fantasies are some of artist Sangwoo Kang’s main themes.”
 The VR exhibition team strived hard to display the three-dimensional work at the particular angle that properly represents the artist’s intentions.
The memories, thoughts and emotions of artist Sangwoo Kang’s childhood are unraveled visually through his work, and so the VR exhibition was titled ‘Stories Hovering Around Us’. The exhibition compressed his oeuvre into three sections. First theme is ‘fantasy and reality,’ and this section introduces retrospection and interpretations of the past events he experienced during his childhood and while he studied overseas. The second theme discusses trauma using the visual-effect principles of masterpieces. In the final section, the ‘Ttori Janggun’ series is introduced.
Curator Choi Jae hyeok commented, “Artist Sangwoo Kang’s private exhibition contains many three-dimensional pieces and drawings, so it was hard to display them in VR. It was especially hard to express the three-dimensional aspects of the flat work, such as ‘Magic Cape’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ and to create the effect of the piece, ‘Rain Brings Misery,’ protruding from the wall. It is regrettable that those effects were not well-displayed as intended. Still, the work was shot at the angles that best represent the artist’s intentions, so I hope audiences can recall these angles when they have the chance to see his work in person.”
He added, “The VR exhibition is somewhat limited, since audiences cannot see three-dimensional work at 360 degrees. However, it does afford some benefits for the director of an exhibition. For example, the materials of the ceilings, floors, and walls can be easily adjusted according to the concept of work that will be displayed. In the case of artist Sangwoo Kang’s private exhibition, the motif was from his childhood, so I wanted audiences to feel their childhood, too. I decided the concept for the exhibition would be ‘an exhibition hall remodeled as a school located near a beach’ and installed an old elementary school’s creaking wooden floor and lit the hall with natural light, instead of artificial lights, by setting up glass ceilings.”
In reality, natural light changes its angle and shadows over time and direct light can damage the artwork, so offline exhibitions usually avoid using natural light.
 A scene from the installation of the work ‘Sonokong, yourself’ by artist Sangwoo Kang currently on display at Savina Museum of Contemporary Art.
Additionally, the curator explained that he found some commonality between art and the VR exhibition. For example, artwork visualizes imagination as reality and the VR exhibition brings real things into a virtual space. Artwork is for depicting fantasy beyond its three-dimensional space and the VR exhibition is for presenting the reality of artwork within a virtual space. Both of them are interesting, since they both entwine reality and fantasy in their own ways.
There is one more thought that curator Choi Jae hyeok shared about his impression while preparing the exhibition, “Work is not finished after an artist is done with his or her work in a studio. It is truly completed after deciding where and how to display the work.”
 Work ‘Sonokong, yourself 1’; Sonokong rolls his eyes when the viewers come close. 2016, Colored conté on air-dry stone clay, 33 x 34 x 32cm
In the meantime, artist Sangwoo Kang is participating in a group exhibition 《60sec ART》 at Savina Museum of Contemporary Art, which will be held until this coming July 10th. The exhibition provides the chance to talk about the modern temporality of the super-speed era. The artist exhibits 'Sonokong, yourself', which is inspired by commercial images from 1974. In an old Braun tube, the phrase ‘two and a half million copies are sold,’ and video clips of Sonokong rolling his eyes play repeatedly. From the images, the artist found the consumption of modern society lacking in judgement. The work is comprised of installation, video, and paintings.
Images provided by Savina Museum (02)736-4371

2016. 5. 27 ⓒKorean Artist Project
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