Marking its ninth year, the Korea Artist Prize is a representative art award program in Korea coorganized by the MMCA and SBS Foundation. Four visual artists/teams who are capable of using innovative aesthetics to address the most compelling social issues of our time are selected and funding is provided for their artistic productions, which are then exhibited at MMCA.
Through recommendations and screening by experts of domestic and international art scenes, four finalists have been chosen for the Korea Artist Prize 2020: Kim Minae, Lee Seulgi, Jung Yoonsuk, and Chung Heeseung. They each have pursued his or her unique art worlds within the realms of
sculpture, installation, photography and video. In the exhibition, Kim Minae and Lee Seulgi proactively utilize formative language to provide a new perception and experience of the museum's space while Jung Yoonsuk and Chung Heeseung present the opportunity and conditions for a deep contemplation on life and humanity.
Kim Minae has continuously produced site-specific installations that intervene in everyday environments as a way to address architectural spaces and the institutionalized art scene. In this exhibition, Kim presents a new installation 1. 안녕하세요 2. Hello, consisting of sculptures and structures that highlight the unique architectural structure of Gallery 2. The elimination of all boundaries between the space and structures as well as those among Kim's art works stems from the question the artist has been asking from a long time ago: "Can a sculpture exist apart from its environment and context?" It also extends to the reflection on what sculptures and art are.
Based in France since the early 1990s, Lee Seulgi has been presenting works that connect traditional craft and folk art with contemporary contexts by shedding light on the formality of everyday objects. Lee's new work Dong Dong Dari Gori, put on display at Gallery 2, transforms the exhibition space using traditional Korean architecture, craft and folklore aspects. Hanging in the space are glass containers holding water from different rivers around the world that have been sent by the artist's acquaintances, while playful spirit is also added to the exhibition through the addition of Korean folk songs and traditional French games. Lee's new work aims to exemplify the artist's prolonged contemplation on the captivating natural forms of man-made objects, which reveal the mysteries of
the fundamental relationship between people and nature.
Working as a visual artist and film director, Jung Yoonsuk has been specializing in documentary films that delve into the relation between specific personal events and social incidents. In the exhibition, Jung presents Tomorrow, which combines a feature film with photography and video installations. Forming the main axis of the exhibition, the film Tomorrow is a documentary featuring people who produce, consume or use surrogate human forms. The first half of the film takes place in
a factory in China that produces sex dolls. The second half travels to Japan to depict the stories of Senji, who lives with these dolls and Matsuda, who suggests AI robots as a political alternative. Amid the changing times, the film aims to question "what humanity is" through the lives that are chosen by
Working primarily with photography, Chung Heeseung introduces at Gallery 3, the deep consideration on life and art that has been shared with peer artists through an installation that incorporates photographs, text and music. New productions titled Dancing Together in a Sinking Ship and Poem for Alcoholics and Angels, which use photography and text, respectively as the main media, are a single installation that can be closely connected to each other. Chung's diverse
interactions with 24 fellow artists are transformed into portrait photographs, images of objects from their daily lives, and short fragments of conversations that she had with them while producing this work. Audiences will come across a sense of devotion and fear of those who have chosen to become
an artist as well as statements for the artistic world which is just as absurd and impermanent as life.
The final winner of the Korea Artist Prize 2020 will be announced in February 2021, following the second round of screening during the exhibition period. The artist will be named as the "2020 Artist of the Year" and awarded an additional grant of KRW 10 million. In addition, SBS will produce and
air a documentary on contemporary art that sheds light on the four artists.
Korea Artist Prize