April 4, 2016 - Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma - Choi Jeong Hwa: Happy Together
April 4, 2016

Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma

Choi Jeong Hwa, Happy Happy. © Choi Jeong Hwa.

Choi Jeong Hwa
Happy Together
April 22–September 18, 2016

Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma
Mannerheiminaukio 2
FI-00100 Helsinki
Finland

www.kiasma.fi
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Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa takes the viewer into a colourful plastic jungle in his work Happy Happy. A closer look reveals that the resplendent paradise consists in fact of chains of domestic appliances stretching from the ceiling to the floor.

"...it is not surprising that Choi Jeong Hwa is seen in Korea as the pioneer of a completely new way of looking at art, as well as how it relates to life at large. Sometimes, in doing this, he has irritated people and has even been accused of 'not being original' because, like Marcel Duchamp or Andy Warhol before him, he has transformed into art images or objects which have had another life in the everyday. In this, and many other respects, he has had a decisive impact on Korean culture," writes David Elliott in his article published in the exhibition catalogue.

Choi builds his large installations by combining local and Korean, new and old, unique and mass-produced elements, blending Korean pictorial tradition with global consumer culture. From ordinary consumer goods, such as colourful plastic vessels and cheap toys, Choi builds experiential and immersive spaces.

At the same time, the works also call our attention to the materialism in which we live and the overabundance of goods, the ubiquity of plastic.

Choi finds inspiration in the chaos and beauty of the city and its people, he wants to bring something new and collectively shareable into the public space. The exhibition also includes a participatory work of art.

”This [Choi’s style] is based on the cheap, dazzlingly colourful, everyday materials found in the street markets of the working-class neighbourhoods of Gangbuk on the north bank of the Han River that runs through the capital. In deciding to do this, Choi was not making an overtly political point, although his sympathies undoubtedly lie with popular culture and the people who create it. He was more concerned to establish a kind of truth through art that reflected his own thoughts and experience. But he was unable to do this with the methods he was taught at Art School and had to shed previous learning so that he could take a different path," writes Elliott.

Choi Jeong Hwa (b. 1961) is one of the most famous contemporary artists in South Korea. He works on a broad front with visual arts as both an artist and a designer. The exhibition in Kiasma is curated by Senior Curator Arja Miller, in cooperation with the Helsinki Festival.

At the same time with Choi Jeong Hwa’s exhibition, a thematic exhibition opens, presenting Kiasma’s Collections with 27 artists. The works raise the question of how we are affected and moved by art. We live in an emotion-glutted age and things are often expressed in emotive terms. Art, too, can elicit powerful responses, yet it also has the potential to process this emo-deluge and work as a catalyst for personal experience of a more subtle, ineffable nature.

There is a joint exhibition catalogue presenting both exhibitions.

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