Lee Lee Nam at Cernuschi Museum in Paris During FIAC

Lee Lee Nam at Cernuschi Museum in Paris During FIAC

South Korean artist Lee Lee Nam is perhaps one of the most notable video artists of our time and will be exhibiting at the Cernuschi Museum in Paris during globally renowned FIAC, as well as satellite art fair Asia Now. The Lee Lee Nam Museum will be opening in Gwangju early 2019, an exciting endeavor. His artwork A Path to Peace (2018) acted as the visual backdrop at the inter-Korean summit in April 2018, where Kim Jong-un crossed over to the South Korean territory to meet Moon Jae-in – a first for a North Korean leader since the beginning of the Korean War in 1950. A significant moment between the two historical enemies, and for the artist himself.

Reappropriation of Classical Art

Lee Lee Nam has exhibited alongside video art heavyweights such as Nam June Paik (whom he has been likened to and influenced by) and Bill Viola, ultimately aiding his international recognition. Central to his oeuvre, he places new technologies at the heart of his artistic approach whilst synthesizing significant art historical images using multiple new media techniques – breathing life into these classical artworks. He engages with traditional Korean art, animation, European old masters as well as digital art, going back and forth between East and West, past and present, dreams and reality, thereby probing the differences between cultures. A strong poetic charge emanates from his creations creating a cross-cultural dialogue replete with references to art history and technology. By using video as his medium, he is critiquing the society in which we live by responding to today’s generation of hyperconnectivity.

By blurring traditional contours of art, Lee Lee Nam allows new apprehension of his artworks, transporting the viewer from 2D to an interactive and animated sphere of video in 3D. Elements move slowly and silently, engaging the viewer with a hypnotic invitation to travel to another world that is imagined through his acutely technical digital manipulation of images.

Lee Lee Nam at the Cernuschi Museum

The 2nd edition of Cernuschi Video Art ‘Survivances’ at the Cernuschi Museum runs from 16th – 21st October and is dedicated to the theme of history and it’s ghostly presence, as well as the trauma that it presents to contemporary Asian societies. It explores a reflection of the memory of wars that once tore apart and disconnected societies and creates dialogue in terms of how new generations are confronted with this past. When one travels to an undesirable place, nostalgia sets in, and the artists selected for this year’s edition reappropriate their heritage by using digital manipulation, introducing the stylistic and technical diversity of video art in the Far East.

Lee Lee Nam at Cernuschi Museum in Paris During FIAC

New General view of Mount Geumgang – 2009 – Video duration: 7:14 min

‘New General view of Mount Geumgang’ (2009), the reappropriated artwork that will be on display at the Cernuschi Museum, begins originally as the famous landscape painted by Korean artist Jeong Seon in 1734 during the reign of King Yeongjo. Against a backdrop of tranquil sounds of nature, we are transported to a world steeped in historical references, beginning with a way of life that is seemingly peaceful. As the image slowly starts to take on a life of its own, the music gradually becomes more ominous. One hears a world that has been imprinted with the hand of industrialization, visually moving towards scenes of anarchy. The landscape transforms to one filled with city lights and skyscrapers, with a sinister tone of war plans and helicopters hovering, underscoring a time of mass destruction. Clouds of smoke gradually fill the air, indicative of explosives and suggestive of war.

This visual storytelling technique that is employed takes us on a journey through the history of Korea, the pinnacle being that of the Korean War that was a by-product of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. The war began in 1950, and the conflict ultimately resulted in Korea being split into two sovereign states. It was also the first time in history where jet fighters confronted each other in air-to-air combat, which is also reflected in the artwork. 1953 marked the end of the war when an armistice was signed, leading to a separation of North and South Korea. No peace treaty was signed, and the two Korea’s are technically still at war and engaged in a frozen conflict.

Lee Lee Nam depicts this trauma of war that is still very much prevalent in today’s society with the political tensions and dislocations that it stirs. He communicates with a contemporary audience whilst immersing them in a historical experience, underscoring the disturbance that presents itself alongside war.

Beyond the limits: teamLab digital art exhibition in Paris

Beyond the limits: teamLab digital art exhibition in Paris

The human is a being that often opposes himself to nature. Isolating from the latter, he creates his own world, seeking the security and comfort. Throughout history, he was building his own universe, moving away from nature. But with more significant inventions he was making, the more he missed the natural balance and purity. Thus, he was seeking the restoration of his original relation with nature through art. An infinite number of artists of different epochs tried a various media, returning to primitive creation, refusing the technology and progress in search of art that would allow the spectator to feel himself in the harmony with nature. However, it was finally the technology, an opposition to nature, that allowed some artists to achieve this goal. This is the case of teamLab, a Japanese artistic collective that uses exceptional installations, which can be called, without exaggeration, alive.

Their artworks are immense, not framed and fully immersive. Remaining totally figurative, they represent a diversity of forms and figures of nature, of flora and fauna, and, sometimes, of human individuals too, inviting the spectator to join their vivid world and feel a connection between himself and the nature. Destructing the barrier between the artwork and the spectator, this art envelopes the viewer, makes him a part of its universe of forms and colors, and, furthermore, offers him an opportunity to become its co-creator. teamLab artworks are made by more than 450 people, including artists, programmers, engineers, scientists, architects, and animators, who have been operating together since 2001.

 

 

Their principal instrument for the creation is digital technology: their art involves projectors, touch screens, audio speakers, and scanners; and their principal objective is to form a new type of art, open and interactive. teamLab seeks to escape the limits of ‘conventional art’ and to create outstanding installations, that change our understanding and perception of contemporary creation. Being really impressive, their artworks do not shock the spectator, nor are they causing discomfort. On the contrary, they are trying to remain friendly and attractive, despite their scale and dynamism.

The name of the exhibition of teamLab, which opened on the 15th May in La Villette in Paris, is “Au-delà des limites”, which means meaningBeyond the Limits” — beyond the barriers between the visitor and the artwork, and at the same time, beyond the frontiers of ‘conventional art’. The exhibition assembles in the 2,000 square-meter space the most iconic and new artworks of teamLab, among which you can find an enormous 11 meter-height and 26.5 meter-width interactive waterfall, some installations reproducing the whole saison sycle, or entire digital worlds, created by visitors of the exhibition. As all the artworks exhibited are reacting to the public’s actions, people and art are in dialogue, co-existing in one digital universe. The latter changes significantly because of the public, thereby, “Au-delà des limites” turns into a unique symphony of artworks and people, never the same.

The exhibition meets the public with the works “Graffiti Nature – Mountains and Valleys” (2016) and “Graffiti Flowers Bombing” (2018), a whole ecosystem worlds made by people: they offer to color new animals or flowers on paper and to scan it. The software integrates the digital artwork in the composition, and then the visitor suddenly finds his creation among thousands of flowers, plants, lizards, fish, moving, appearing, vanishing, multiplying across the space. That’s how the visitor discovers from the very beginning that the digital universe, created by teamLab, is playing with him and changes dynamically regarding his actions. Whether he is a wind for flowers or a living being for spirits, the human can always become a co-creator or a destroyer of every artwork, seeking for harmony or chaos.

But sometimes, playing with this astounding universe, the spectator does not notice that he himself becomes a part of an artwork. If you stand apart from the crowd, you can see how people in the light of projectors become an organic piece of several artworks. For an instance, the hall, where the installation “Impermanent Life: People Create Space and Time, at the Confluence of their Spacetime New Space and Time is Born” (2018) is shown, allows the visitor to transform the surface of walls around him and to create his own worlds, that are borning, burgeoning and dying. But it also transforms the creator himself into a part of the artwork, making him to dissolve against the background of the walls. That’s how a human, an omnipresent forceful being, is shown as an indispensable part of this universe he changes and considers to rule.

The exhibition “Au-delà des limites” will be opened in the Grande Halle de La Villette in Paris until the 9th September 2018.

South Africa under the spotlight at the Venice Biennial

South Africa under the spotlight at the Venice Biennial

South Africa - The 57th International Art Exhibition_La Biennale di VeneziaSouth Africa –  The 57th International Art Exhibition_La Biennale di Venezia

 

Two major artists, Candice Breitz and Mohau Modisakeng, are representing South Africa at the 57th edition of the Venice Biennale. Under the direction of Christine Macel, Viva Arte Viva is a celebratory venue highlighting art and artist’s power in our society. 

Nevertheless, rather than praising art and the people making it, the two young creators decided to give the opportunity to immigrants and other minorities to speak about their conditions and the encountered difficulties experienced throughout their journey. Candice Breitz’s short film Love Story is a raw statement where she questions the dehumanisation within our world. Marked by famine, displacement and humanitarian crisis, the 21st century is increasingly obsessed with show business, relegating or even denying to see alarming issues. By using Hollywood actors – Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin -, Breitz reroutes the public’s attention to this field giving a voice to millions of unknown refugees.

On the other hand, Mohau Modisakeng explores South African “male” identity during the post apartheid era. His work delves on the meaning of nation, gender and postcolonialism in the country.

Regardless of Mrs. Macel intention, Breitz and Modisakeng believe in art not so much as a narcissist way of expression but as a political outlet.  

 

Credits
SOUTH AFRICA (Republic of), Candice Breitz and Mohau Modisakeng
57. Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte – La Biennale di Venezia, Viva Arte Viva
Photo by: Italo Rondinella
Courtesy: La Biennale di Venezia
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MAT #1: Back to the Future

MAT #1: Back to the Future

On 18 and 19 June, inside a renovated 250m2 studio on 19 Côté Cour in the 18th arrondissement, artist-theoretician and expert commissioner Franck Ancel will showcase an array of digital artworks that extends through 6 decades. In fact, MAT #1 does not have the bragging rights to be the first auction on digital art. A few years ago, there was a sale exclusively on video art held in France and again, another one in England on a much larger scale. So, what makes this auction special? MAT #1 is, indeed, most unique in its format. It is, at the same time, an auction and an exhibition open to the public, hence the compound noun “exhibit-auction”. The auction is most appropriately located for the occasion as the atelier is situated in a famous artistic neighbourhood, right behind popular art lover dwelling, 104. The space, christened by promising young designer Agathe Occhipinti with her scenography, will display a panorama of artists and creators who look to the expressive function of technology to communicate the social issues raised from modern industrialisation.

 

mat-maleh

Léa Maleh (1983) – « alpha omega » – 2016 – Clé USB – 4 cm x 2 cm – Estimation :   1 600 € – 1 800 €

The exhibit-auction takes the participants in retrospective journey throughout 60 years of digital art. For the first stop of the voyage, we travel back in time with artist Nicolas Schöffer’s robot named Cysp 1 The work, realised in 1956, is a machine assembled by spinning metal plates where light is reflected into uncountable amount of rainbows. The robot will be presented in the format of a photographic triptych at this weekend’s MAT.

Structure gonflables. Another example of these exciting reeditions is the 2008 reproduction of kinetic sculpture Contact Is The Only Love by the collective USCO (The Company of Us).

 

mat-schoeffer

Nicolas Schöffer (1912-1992) « cysp 1 » – 1956 Photographie H : 60 cm – L : 21 cm Estimation :   4 500 € – 5 500 €

This weekend’s exhibit-auction offers digital art in all its glory, diversity beyond our imagination, ranging from Léa Maleh’s 3D printed sculpture of a USB in the material of Corian to video art. Take the examples of the three-channel projection of Nicolas Tourte’s Passage (2016), Nicolas Schöffer experimentation Variations luminodynamiques 1 at the Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française (ORTF) in 1961, which is considered to be the first television clip, Régine Cirotteau’s experimental docu-fiction on the passage to the New Millennium, Zéro (2000), and the four-channel video Four Cardinal Point (2015) by Richard Garet.

MAT #1 is the regarded as a solution to polemic on the conservation of and the construction of a market for digital art since in nature, this genre of art does not strictly follow its business-savvy cousin, contemporary art. On top of that, the range of the starting price is rather reasonable, calculating from the hundreds to around the thousands in Euros. This first edition of MAT exhibit-auction offers diversity in artist and its spectrum of digital art pieces on sale. It aims to be a meeting place for collectors and creators of art of today. MAT will be an annual auction with its next edition already announced for the year 2017, where MAT #2 will focus on the timeline from 1947 to 2017. Ancel reaffirms that the exhibit-auction Mouvement Art Technologie takes the objectives to create a dialogue between generations, techniques, formats, and aesthetics; between geometric art, kinetic, optical, and digital; between the past, the present and the future.

Featured Image: Franck Ancel (1970) – « She Loves Control » – 2014
Néon -Edition of 23 – H : 12 cm – L : 180 cm -Estimation :   1 000 € – 1 300 €