Press release of 23 June 2014
Author of the exhibition: JaeEun Choi
Exhibition curator: Svetlana Michajlová
Place: St Salvador Church, Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia, U Milosrdných 17, 110 00 Prague 1
The exhibition runs from 24 June to 21 September 2014.
On 24 June 2014, the Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia of the National Gallery in Prague opens an exclusive exhibition of the globally renowned female artist of Korean origin, JaeEun Choi. The exhibition was prepared by the National Gallery in Prague in cooperation with the Korean Kukje Gallery and it introduces both Czech and international public to the most recent tendencies of world contemporary art.
The current exhibition is part of a long-term project entitled “Choi − World Underground Project”, which began in 1986 and has hitherto been realized in eleven cities of seven countries on a rather global scale (Korea,Japan,United States of America,France,Italy,GermanyandKenya). JaeEun Choi gained fame on the international artistic scene by her conceptual and balanced projects inspired by the aesthetics of natural forms and human philosophy. In her installations, she combines various artistic techniques and employs wide spectrum of media in developing her concepts, including photography, video, performance, film, architecture, sculpture and music. The native-Korean artist moved to the Japanese Tokyo in the mid-1970s where she studied the art of ikebana. Aesthetic spatial thinking then became the basis of her later artistic work when Choi successfully overcame the Japanese traditionalism. Today, she ranks among the most globally respected conceptual artists and her exhibitions inBerlin,TokyoandSeoulenjoy favourable response on international scale. Choi participates in many leading exhibitions of contemporary art (Seoul International Media Art Biennale, Japanese Pavilion of the Venice Biennale, Biennale São Paulo and others) and film festivals. She alternately lives and works at almost all continents (America, Africa, Asia andEurope). Her current main place of residence and artistic activity isBerlin.
The “World Underground Project” is of crucial significance to Choiʼs both artistic and life philosophy.
The main role in the project has been ascribed to soil as the substance of all life on our planet and the basic material of vital creativity. Choi buries bunches of hand-made, impregnated Japanese paper to the ground at carefully selected locations, digging them out after several years.
The paper is then subjected to special treatment in order to become part of Choiʼs presentation accompanied by video projection and photographic documentation which are closely tied to the place of its burial. As the artist herself emphasizes, the time and the soil containing information about its own history and evolution themselves process both archaeologically and semantically unique picture of the given environment. Choi in her project experiments and organically fuses science and art and seeks coaction between artistic creativity and chemical and physical processes.
Prague is the twelfth city where the “World Underground Project” has been realized.
The exhibition entitled “The House that Continuously Circulates” was especially designed for the spaces of the Convent of St Agnes ofBohemia. The exhibition concept is based on the endless cycle of life and death and time and existence and on the process of evolution throughout human history, which Choi presents with high aesthetic sensibility and delicacy.
The first stage of the Prague project, entitled “Chaos”, was realized in Prague in 2008, when the artist participated in the international triennial of contemporary art – ITCA 2008 – held by the National Gallery inPrague. Choi then found her being strongly inspired by the space and spirituality of the St Agnes Convent and thus asked the National Gallery for approval to bury a bunch of Japanese hand-made and chemically treated paper (of dimensions 200 x100 cm) on the convent grounds. After the long six years, the remains of the paper, in part absorbed by the soil, were dug out.
The second stage of the project includes the exhibition “The House that Continuously Circulates” and expresses the artistʼs aesthetic and emotional attitude to the subjects of life and death. Choi captured this unforgiving cycle in her series of large-dimensional (150 x100 cm) photographs of flowers, entitled “Somebody Is There – Nobody Is There”, which took her several months.
Choi here created a “living” sculpture, documenting the constant succession of life and death, via gradual additions of fresh flowers to the already faded and dried ones, thus imitating the circle of birth and dying. The highly mannered photographs are very precisely processed and evoke picturesque and deeply spiritual impression. The given concept includes two “garden installations”, represented by miniature models of landscapes with lush greenery. In addition, the exhibition presents some original installations made of papers which are centuries old and were specifically collected by the artist for this occasion. The Paper Poem, then, is not only the title of the installations but also the title of a poem written by Choi herself and sung by Nicole Chevalier.
Music for the spaces of the Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia was composed by the foremost American composer of experimental electronic music, Ari Benjamin Meyers, who is currently widely active at the avant-garde scene in Berlin. The sound installation, created by the sound engineer Torsten Ottersberg, succeeds to rather uniquely transcend the entire space of this untraditional exhibition. The combination of music, text and signing is one of the crucial elements of this rare exhibition project.
Guided tours of the exhibition “JaeEun Choi: The House that Continuously Circulates” with Jitka Šosová:
Sunday 31 August 2014 from 4 p.m.
Sunday 20 September 2014 from 4 p.m.
The price of the guided tour: for free / Duration: c. 30−45 min. / Meeting place: ticket office in the Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia
Main media partner of the National Gallery in Prague: Česká televize
Media partners of the National Gallery in Prague: Český rozhlas, Prague Events Calendar, Anopress IT, Classic FM
Partner of the National Gallery in Prague: Railreklam
Technology partner of the National Gallery in Prague: Samsung
The exhibition is accessible FOR FREE daily except Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Press release of 23 June 2014
CONTACT FOR JOURNALISTS:
Eva Kolerusová, press spokeswoman
Phone: +420 222 321 459
Mobile phone: +420 724 501 535
JaeEun Choi (born 1953 in Korea)
Born 1953 in Seoul (Korea)
Currently lives and works inBerlin(Germany)
1976 Moved to Japan
1976 – 80 SogetsuSchool,Tokyo,Japan
1984 – 87 worked as assistant to Hiroshi Teshigahara
International biennale and triennials
2012 The 7thSeoulInternational Media Art Biennale, Mediacity Seoul 2012
2008PragueTriennial, ITCA 2008, the National Gallery inPrague,Czech Republic
1999 The 3rd Asia PacificTriennial,Australia
1995 The 46thVeniceBiennale ’95,JapanPavilion,Italy The 6th EuropaOstasein Triennial,Germany
1991 The 21st Sao Paulo Biennale,Brazil
Screenings (film festivals)
2001 The 2nd Jeonju International Film Festival “Asian Indie Cine-Forum”,Korea The 54th Locarno International Film Festival “Filmmakers of the Present”, Switzerland
The 25th Montreal World Film Festival “Cinema of Tomorrow: New Trends”,Canada
The 14th Tokyo International Women’s Film Festival, Japan
The 21st Hawaii International FilmFestival,USA
2012 “-verse”, Kukje Gallery, Seoul
2010 Hara Museum, Tokyo, Japan
2007 “Lucy and Her Time”, Rodin Gallery, Seoul, Korea
1993 Kukje Gallery, Seoul, Korea
1991 Galeria Milano, Milano, Italy
Gallery UedaSC, Tokyo, Japan
Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo, Japan
1990 Kyong-Dong Presbyterian Church, Seoul, Korea
Duson Gallery, Seoul, Korea
1989 Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo, Japan
Xebec, Kobe, Japan
1988 Gallery Ueda, Tokyo, Japan
1987 Gallery Ueda, Tokyo, Japan
1985 The Sogetsu Plaza, Tokyo, Japan
1984 The Sogetsu Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Group exhibitions – selection
2013 “The Unanswered Question. Iskele2, Tanas and n.b.k”,Germany
2008 “PlatformSeoul2008”,Seoul Station Old Bldg.,Seoul
1994 “The New Wind of Asia”, The Sogetsu Art Museum, Japan
1993 “Grand Tea Ceremony inParis”, UNESCO, France
1992 Arte Sella, Italy
1991 Opening exhibition, Security Pacific Gallery, USA
1988 “East Meets West”, Los AngelesArt Fair ’88, USA
1987 “To the Depth”, Spiral Garden, Japan
Environmental projects – selection
1996-8 Song Chol Priest's Tomb roject, Heinsa, Kyung-Nam, Korea
1992-3 The Daejon International Expo “Recycle Art Pavilion”, Daejon, Korea
Sculptures in plain air – selection
1997 Saitama Shintoshin, Japan
1996 Seaside Momochi Center Stage Aero Gallery, Fukuoka, Japan
1994 Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
1991 Nagoyacastle ruins, Saga, Japan
The 2nd Setoda Biennale, Japan
1988 Past−Future, The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwachoen, Korea
1986 – present “World Underground Project” (Korea,Japan,USA, France,Italy,Germany,Kenya)
1998 − 2001 “On the Way”, docudrama, 72 min.