The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea and the SBS Culture Foundation have named Jewyo Rhii as the winner of the Korea Artist Prize 2019. Now celebrating its eighth year, the Korea Artist Prize was jointly founded in 2012 by the MMCA and the foundation to discover and support artists demonstrating the creative potential of contemporary Korean art. The prize has since emerged as the nation’s preeminent award for fostering development and discourse, thereby presenting new visions for contemporary Korean art.
In this year’s exhibition, Jewyo Rhii (b. 1971), the winner of the Korea Artist Prize 2019, displays a new form of space that accommodates the creative activities of installation, video art, and performance while simultaneously serving as a storage for artworks. And as a pioneering work of art, she has also broadened the horizons of artistic content by creating an online platform transcending the physical and temporal limits of exhibition halls. Most of her exhibition space is occupied by a storage for artworks, a lab, and a content development center called Team Depot. This is where Rhii’s works as well as those of other artists are stored in addition to being studied and documented by participants at the gallery. The content generated here is uploaded to an online platform to form a live communication hub, hence the exhibition space is thus reconstituted into a storage for artworks that also offers a new space where a variety of creative activities unfold. About Rhii, art critic Charles Esche said “she builds conditions in which she can operate without total dependency on the art system.”1 Her work showcases a flexible and variable space for creation throughout the exhibition, featuring Team Depot members performingexperimental and creative activities, along with parades and dance performances held in time for the arrival and storage of works. In selecting Rhii as the winner of this year’s prize, the judging committee noted the breadth of her work spanning a variety of genres such as installation, video art, drawing, and performing arts, also recognizing the daringly creative changes that reshaped her work throughout the exhibition period.