The Long Now

The Long Now


August 24, 2021
The Long Now
d/p curator supporting program: Nowk Choe
August 20–September 18, 2021
428, Samil-daero, Jongno-gu
Republic of Korea

Curator: Nowk Choe
Artists: Jaekyung Jung, Daniel Schine Lee, Hyejoo Jun, Suyon Huh
Exhibition design: Nowk Choe, Gunhee Kim
Graphic design: Yuni Choi

We live in a capricious time which creates an influx of up-to-date information. Accordingly, there is pressure to keep up with the latest fads, and the concept of ‘Here and Now’ is becoming increasingly important. The arts scene is no exception to this atmosphere. Most artworks and exhibitions tend to follow contemporary trends. This trend-oriented pressure influences artists to interact with popular topics in order to stay relevant, but over time most of these trends are ephemeral. Since these cultural norms are so transient, we need to reconsider this pressure to constantly keep up with changing times. 

The Long Now is an exhibition which deals with the timeliness. Nowk Choe, a selected curator by d/p, which is the new contemporary exhibition space, said that even though most open-call programs prioritize timely topics, now, pondering about timeliness itself was ironically a suitable topic. Nowk is interested in the collision between contemporary aspects of d/p and historic aspects of the Nakwon building, which is d/p that is located in and monumental to heritage in Seoul. Both the timely and the historical realms co-exist in the same site, questioning the meaning of what existing in a timely culture truly signifies. Usually people are easily pressured to prioritize timely matters, but the theme suggests that timeliness lacks meaning in and of itself. Ergo,The Long Now seeks to demonstrate that promptness is arbitrary within a space where two historical moments cross paths.

In this context, the four artists highlighted in this exhibition demonstrate a wide range of perspectives regarding the essence of cultural consumption beyond fads. Rather than representing a singular moment in the art world, the four stellar artists—Jaekyung Jung, Daniel Schine Lee, Hyejoo Jun, and Suyon Huh—explore facets of timeliness while presenting in the same space. Their artwork engages with the present moment, yet will remain relevant 100 years from now. 

This echoes how contemporary art from a century ago is still frequented, but seen from a different perspective. Daniel Schine Lee demonstrates the competitiveness and effortless manipulation of trends by popularizing artificially old music and fashion content. Hyejoo Jun showcases a variety of micro materials, collected near the gallery, bringing forth their effervescence. Jaekyung Jung ponders the irrationality of “what is good?”, an ethical notion we take for granted. Suyon Huh exhibits iconography-based sculpture and questions why those icons are regarded as conventionally beautiful.

To enhance the synergy among all the different works while emphasizing a cohesive theme, the exhibition layout pedestals serve as arbiters in determining what we consider art. For a while, the discourse of the pedestal was pushed aside in favor of logistics, but reemerged alongside the nuances of the various media in this exhibition. While the pedestal uses the museum’s logic of treating all objects ubiquitously, each piece’s presentation is tailored to the work, creating new discourses regarding the relationship between the work and its media. For instance, Jaekyung’s cinematic documentary can be viewed in a cinematic environment, horizontally oriented above a pedestal, despite its size. In addition, tiny gaps between the pedestals and the gallery floor represent floating pedestals, purposefully evoking an unanchored feeling of time as it passes through millenia.

Nowk Choe was especially concerned with the exhibition space in partnership with Gunhee Kim. Just as different works of art are grouped using a pedestal, the pine pollen color curtains surrounding the exhibition space create a unique atmosphere with the same floating logic into the curtain rods as columns. The color choice was inspired by the phenomenon of summer pollen floating through Korean traditional houses. The curtains, which recall and blur the modernism grid structure of the Nakwon building, correspond to the exhibition theme, which points to different timelines.

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August 24, 2021

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