February 20, 2015 - National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea - Park Hyun-Ki
February 20, 2015

Park Hyun-Ki

View of Park Hyun-Ki, Mandala, MMCA, Korea, 2015.

Park Hyun-Ki

January 27–May 25, 2015

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea
313 Gwangmyeongro
South Korea
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm, 
Wednesday and Saturday 10am–9pm (6–9pm free admission) 

T +82 2 2188 6000


Park Hyun-Ki is a trailblazer in Korean video art for having first introduced video to the domestic art scene. Whereas the internationally-renowned video artist Nam June Paik primarily worked outside of Korea and only became involved in the domestic scene from 1984, Park Hyun-Ki, already in the late 1970s, had begun to adopt the moving image into his distinctive body of works. 

Park was born in 1942, while Korea was under Japanese colonial rule, to a Korean family of modest means based in Osaka, Japan. When Korea regained independence in 1945, the family moved to Korea and settled in Daegu, a city located in southern Korea. After extensively studying painting and architecture in Hongik University in Seoul, Park returned back to Daegu in the 1970s where he worked in the architectural and interior design business to fund the monitor and camera equipment for his artistic activities. 

Park began to distinguish himself as a notable artist at Daegu Contemporary Art Festival (established in 1974) and increasingly more so by extending his scope with his participation in Bienal de São Paulo (1979) and Biennale de Paris (1980) followed by numbers of exhibitions in Japan in the 1980s. The domestic attention turned to his favor in the 1990s when video art came into the limelight in Korea, leading to the production of some of his key works, such as “Mandala” series and “Presence & Reflection” series, all emerged since 1997.While still in his heyday, Park was unexpectedly diagnosed with stomach cancer and passed away in January 2000.

Park has left an extensive volume of works and archival resources in what could have been a relatively short 58 years of his life. With over 20,000 resources, which have been comprehensively archived and first made available to the public for the occasion, the retrospective at MMCA stands out from the other posthumous attempts to recast a light on the artist’s oeuvre. From the notes he made as a student in 1965 to the sketches completed immediately before his death in 2000, the selection for the exhibition encompasses a span of 35 years in the artist’s life and art. In addition to the exclusive survey of the artist’s works, the exhibition, an attempt to convey the artist’s “nearly everything,” includes reproductions created based on the archival resources.

Park’s works are remarkable in that it offered an interpretation of video, a new artistic medium in his time, from avery Eastern philosophical disposition.His early works consisted of inserting a monitor displaying footage of stones to a pile of real stones.This overlapping of “ordinary stones” and the “stones on the monitor” blurs the boundary between reality and illusion, recalling the fable on the legendary poet Li Bai (701-762) who has drowned himself while reaching for the moon’s reflection in the river. 

With over 1,000 works and resources from the artist’s archive, the exhibition hopes to provide the grounds for further research not only into the artist himself, but also into the Korean art scene especially in 1970s to 80s when the diverse challenges of art practices have emerged and flourished. 

Press contact:
Ki-seok Lee, Public Relations Team
T +82 2 2188 6232 / jamush5 [​at​] korea.kr



Park Hyun-Ki at National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea
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