Yiso Bahc’s Lines of Flight

Yiso Bahc’s Lines of Flight

Art Sonje Center

Yiso Bahc, “UN Tower-D,” 1997.
Pencil on paper, 31 × 23cm.
Courtesy of Yiso Sarangbang.

August 16, 2011

Yiso Bahc
Lines of Flight

Co-curated by Sunjung Kim/SAMUSO with Jang Un Kim
August 20–October 23, 2011

144-2 Sokeuk-dong
Jongro-gu, Seoul
110-200 Republic of Korea
T + 82 2 733 8945
F +82 2 733 8377
press [​at​] samuso.org

The Artsonje Center is pleased to announce Lines of Flight, a retrospective of Yiso Bahc’s work focusing on his drawings. This Korean conceptual and installation artist’s work will be on view from August 20 to October 23, 2011.

Renowned for introducing postmodern art theories to the Korean art scene, Bahc also adopted a non-linear approach towards universally acknowledged values such as the self, art, life and the world. Incessantly drawing and making handwritten notes were ways of recording ideas and reflections on such issues. Also, when developing his work Bahc would actively use drawing as a medium or simply another tool with which he would materialize his conceptual stances, actualize his creative realm or communicate with the world. By presenting approximately two hundred thirty drawings and early paintings resembling drawings, the present exhibition aims to offer new access into this influential Korean artist’s work and thus recontextualize his practice by elaborating new conceptual keywords from the material and records he has left behind.

Lines of Flight, the title of the exhibition, originates in a concept developed by French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Defined as a desire towards new and unexpected connections, and creative or destructive lines of dreaming positive energies, this term accurately describes Yiso Bahc’s attitude towards his life and artistic practice as an artist who sought to free himself from existing institutional structures and systems. For example, Bahc’s artistic career is divided into two periods: while living in New York from 1982 to 1994 he worked under the name of Mo Bahc; upon returning to Seoul he worked as Yiso Bahc. During his time in New York, Bahc intensely questioned his identity as an Asian immigrant artist, in addition to researching art, society and his own artistic process. This attitude was carried on into the later phase of his career as a reflective approach to investigating life, the world and the notion of universally acknowledged values.

Lines of Flight proposes drawing as more than a means of practicing or developing skills. Rather, this practice is suggested as Bahc’s artistic method of conveying thoughts and an integral part of the creative investigation into how to conceptually structure his ideas. In many ways, Bahc’s works share characteristics with drawing by being temporary, flexible, and verbal rather than stable and based on the material. His drawings can be categorized into three types: Drawing, Drawing Concept, and Installation Portfolio. One floor of the Artsonje Center will show Bahc’s drawings and his early paintings that share elements of drawing, address the theme of identity, ego, multi-culturalism, and social issues. On the other floor, the Conceptual Drawings and Installation Portfolios highlight Bahc’s reflections on positivity, communication, and a new utopia. Beyond being a mere philosophical concept corresponding to the artist’s works, Lines of Flight implies the poetic and romantic meaning of drawing as a combination of lines, yet nonetheless represents a radical expansion of the understanding of drawing.

In addition, Bahc’s archival and documental material will be made available to the public in the exhibition hall. This material includes twenty one copies of the artist’s notes, pedagogical material he used when he taught contemporary art and drawing, records of the production and installation of his works, part of the ‘Endless Jazz Collection (comprising random recordings of Jazz music from the radio), the artist’s handwritten notes, publications he translated as Mo Bahc, and written interviews with his friends.

Lines of Flight was co-curated by Sunjung Kim and Jang Un Kim, an independent curator based in Seoul. By making available such a vast body of material and concepts within Bahc’s work the exhibition hopes to provide an insight into the experience and memories of the artist’s life and his approach towards art.

Lines of Flight is hosted by Yiso Sarangbang and Artsonje Center and supported by Arts Council Korea.

Artsonje Center was founded in 1998 and plays a crucial role in exhibiting and fostering contemporary art in Seoul, South Korea. Aimed at nurturing familiarity with contemporary artistic practice, Artsonje Center is dedicated to the development of a program consisting of exhibitions, screenings, lectures, workshops, publications, an education program and a bookshop/lounge project.

SAMUSO: Space for Contemporary Art was established by curator Sunjung Kim in 2005 and has grown into a curatorial office dedicated to presenting, producing, promoting and nurturing innovative exhibitions; public and educational programs—including lectures, symposia and publications; and collaborations that bring contemporary art to broader national and international audiences and contexts. Platform Seoul (2006–2010), an annually recurring event seeking alternative models and procedures for exhibitions to operate within wider cultural contexts, is emblematic of SAMUSO’s projects to date.

Yiso Bahc's Lines of Flight
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Art Sonje Center
August 16, 2011

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