The Korea Herald


Thaddaeus Ropac presents first group show of Korean and Korean diaspora artists

By Park Yuna

Published : Jan. 21, 2023 - 14:01

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An installation view of “Myths of Our Time An installation view of “Myths of Our Time" at Thaddaeus Ropac in Seoul (Courtesy of the gallery)

The leading international gallery Thaddaeus Ropac has brought together a group of Korean and Korean diaspora artists to Seoul as its first exhibition of the year. The show is a first group show that focuses on art that shares the cultural context of Korea.

The exhibition, titled “Myths of Our Time,” highlights the narratives drawn by the three female artists of Korean ethnicity whose works hold diverse cultural contexts “reimagined through a contemporary lens to address urgent issues relating to technological developments, identity and notions of self,” according to the gallery.

Chung Hee-min, Sun Woo and Zadie Xa are “incredible artists who push their boundaries,” said Thaddaeus Ropac in Seoul on the opening of the exhibition on Jan. 6. He had visited the studios of the artists for years to learn about their artistic practices. He also said the gallery puts a lot of effort into engaging with the local art scene.

Chung’s works break the concept of surface. Inkjet transferred gel medium, which are colored in pastel hues, are draped, tucked and pinched onto canvases. She presents six large-scale paintings and a group of floor-standing sculptures that take inspiration from the fate of Echo, a nymph in Roman mythology.

“As more aspects of our lives move online, I believe the way we perceive and relate to objects is evolving. I am interested in deriving different meanings from the original, questioning things I have taken for granted,” Chung said in a note.

Meanwhile, Sun explores the relationship between technology and artmaking practices. Her paintings show fragmented bodies and hybrid corporeal forms entwined with machines, objects and landscapes. “I reflect on this strange convergence of the organic and mechanic, thinking about what it means to be a body in society,” the artist said.

Korean Canadian artist Xa's works are being shown in Seoul for the first time at the exhibition. She presents three paintings back-to-back with three textile works, including the artist’s signature robes mounted on quilted panels.

“I use mythology as the skeleton or backbone for a larger project to create points of linking myself to other artists and particularly, I suppose, to a timeline in history,” the artist said. The installation shows the centrality of her Korean Canadian background to her ongoing exploration of diasporic identities.

Presenting the first group exhibition of the three artists, Hwang Kyu-jin, executive director of Thaddaeus Ropac in Seoul, stressed gallery's role in seeking talented artists and presenting their works to the global art scene.

“We will continue interacting with the Korean art scene and discovering talented Asian artists,” she said.