‘Nomadic Report‘ on Mongolia and Antarctica
An exhibition that convened works inspired by endless mounds of sand in Mongolia and sheets of ice in Antarctica is currently under way in Seoul. Titled “Nomadic Report 2012 Part I,” the works are by some 20 artists who took part in the Nomadic Artists Residency Program in 2011. Organized by the Arts Council Korea (ARKO), the program sends seasoned artists overseas to expand their horizons in unfamiliar settings.
Those who traveled to the South Pole for a fortnight captured the timelessness of the frozen continent. Cho Gwang-hee filmed the dynamic currents around icebergs.
“It was challenging to create artwork out in the South Pole where there is no civilization. When we travel overseas, artists can usually focus on the clash of cultures. But we didn’t have that,” Cho said.
In addition to the footage, Cho reinterprets what he saw beyond the sheets of ice into a video clip using psychedelic images. Photographer Gwang Mo said his goal was to “not get swept away” in Antarctica. “With the white nights, you can take photos without rest,” he said. His large scale photos expose the intricate patterns of the ice and variation of lights. “We often take ice as momentary because it melts, but ice in Antarctica is a type of relic — it is thousands of years old.” The exhibition also presents photos taken by a researcher at the Korea Polar Research Institute. Gwang and curator Kim Yong-min sorted through numerous photographs. “I learned that the researchers actually take a lot of photos of Antarctica. Kim and I thought that the way they view this land is different from our perspective as visitors. So we wanted to present their view point,” Gwang explained.
In a contrasting geographical landscape “ChalaseungChalamyeol” has invited five artists and a curator who went to Mongolia for 15 days. The focus is on the tenuous divide between life and death. Lee Su-yong’s photo of a woman next to the withering remains of a camel epitomizes the sacred beauty of Mongolian deserts. “The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease led people to bury hundreds of pigs alive. The shock from the death of the pigs inspired me to become a messenger between the dead and living,” she explained. The group installation of sand-filled coffins brings the artists’ impressions of Mongolia. Lee Guem-hong compiled interviews with local residents on the ranging consequences of modernization in Mongolia. She said: “If you ask people about their names and dreams, you can get a glimpse of the impact of modernization in Mongolia.” Many locals take on adjectives such as gem, happiness, or joy as their name. “A young man who wants to work for the tourism agency or a middle aged woman who wants to buy a car — their stories passed through me like the wind,” Lee said regarding her work.
The show runs through March 14. “Nomadic Report 2012 Part 2” will follow on March 23 with works from residency programs in China called “Two Week’s Vacation” and in Iran, titled “Persian Wind.”
By Noh Hyun-gi