February 27, 2020 - Art Sonje Center - Hwayeon Nam: Mind Stream
February 27, 2020

Art Sonje Center

Hwayeon Nam, Larger than Life (still), 2019-2020. 4-channel video, 25min 47sec. 

Hwayeon Nam
Mind Stream
March 12–April 26, 2020

Art Sonje Center
87 Yulgok-ro 3-gil, Jongno-gu
03062 Seoul
South Korea
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 12–7pm

T +82 2 733 8944
F +82 2 733 8377

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Art Sonje Center presents Mind Stream, a solo exhibition by Hwayeon Nam from March 12 to April 26, 2020. Hwayeon Nam draws the trajectories where historical time meets physical time. Using choreographic methods, she has focused in particular on the influences that arise as that time passes through the body, exploring ways of giving visible form to the resulting fluctuations.

The exhibition is based on the artist’s research into the dancer Seung-hee Choi (1911–1969) between 2012 and the present—and the journey of thought that this brought about. Born during Japan’s colonization of Korea, Choi traveled to Japan at the age of 16 to study under the modern dancer Baku Ishii, before going on to undertake a new exploration of traditional Korean and Eastern dance. Both her dancing and her activities as a person illustrate the questions of identity and historical conflicts that confronted an artist situated between Korea and Japan, tradition and modernity, and East and West. Though records of Choi’s life are quite scant; for her artistic project, Hwayeon Nam began by imagining one possible path on the basis of these fragmentary records and images.

Conceptually, the exhibition bears ties to A Garden in Italy (2014), a performance that the artist developed by drawing connections between this paltry archive to the inherent incompleteness of performance archives. Where that work envisioned an ad hoc alternative archive—appearing and disappearing through the medium of performance, while minimizing aspects of Choi’s personal history and typical images—the latest exhibition presents the historical information gleaned about Choi, while combining that archive with the work inspired by Choi that the artist has amassed over the past several years. Also included are videos showing different interpretations of Choi’s various choreographic works based on the available records, along with actual performances held daily over a two-week period during the exhibition. Mixing historical materials with artwork, the archive is a setting not so much for empirically examining historical fact and explaining the artist’s working process as for experiencing what happens as images are assembled through roundabout, deviating approaches within an actual empty space.

The exhibition title Mind Stream was taken from one of Choi’s choreographic works of the same name. Using two surviving photographs of the work and a critic’s brief text about the performance from its day, the artist created a performative work in 2014—one that consisted of drawings, sounds, and a poster imagining the movements of the dance. Mind Stream appears here with a different scale and format, presented in the exhibition as an installation incorporating light and sound. An old record of the work—which describes it as a “two women appear[ing] in shadow form, joining and separating, separating and joining in a painterly ‘duet’”—is applied more generally through this exhibition to the encounter between the two artists Hwayeon Nam and Seung-hee Choi. Just as that choreography brought two dancers face to face and then separated them, the exhibition is like circles drawn in the sand: between two different people, between different times and their associated histories, between fact and fiction, it reveals and conceals itself.

About the Artist
Hwayeon Nam (b.1979) lives and works in Seoul. Along with her most recent exhibition Abdominal Routes (2019) at Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark, Nam’s solo exhibitions include Imjingawa (Audio Visual Pavilion, 2017) and Time Mechanics (Arko Art Center, 2015). Hwayeon Nam represented Korea at the 58th Venice Biennale’s Korean Pavilion in 2019. She has participated in group exhibitions Reenacting History (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, 2017), wellknown unknown (Kukje Gallery, 2016), All the World’s Future (56th Venice Biennale, 2015), and Nouvelle VagueMemorial Park (Palais de Tokyo, 2013). 

Curated by Haeju Kim (Deputy Director, Art Sonje Center)
Exhibition Management by Hyo Gyoung Jeon (Curator, Art Sonje Center)
Organized by Art Sonje Center
Supported by ISU Group, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, Arts Council Korea

The dates of the exhibition may be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 precautions.

Art Sonje Center
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Mind Stream
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