Asian art exhibitions in London (Feb 2017)

Posted on February 26, 2017 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

Transcending Boundaries by teamlab  Transcending Boundaries by teamlab

Transcending Boundaries by teamlab

Transcending Boundaries by teamlab  Transcending Boundaries by teamlab

Transcending Boundaries by teamlab

 

Is contemporary Asian art gaining more recognition in the West today? Apparently so. Interestingly, three prominent contemporary art galleries in London held exhibitions on three very different Asian artists/collective around the same period, and one of the most talked about exhibition must have been the immersive "Transcending Boundaries" at Pace Gallery by Japanese interdisciplinary collective, teamlab.

Established in 2001, the collective merges art, anime, technology, design and the natural world to create immersive installations that transcend the physical and conceptual boundaries for visitors. I was unaware that I had to prebook a time slot to visit the free exhibition, and was told that tickets were all sold out upon arrival. Luckily, the kind gallery staff let me and other non-ticket holders in after a brief wait.

In the three dark rooms, visitors were encouraged to interact with the digital installations. Visitors could manipulate the flow of the waterfall; enabled flowers to spread and grow on them; and watched butterflies flap around them. It took me some time to be absorbed by my surroundings, but once I did, I was quite mesmorisized by the interactive experiences.

Back in Japan, the Teamlab staged the largest digital art exhibition “DMM.Planets” last year, and the queues lasted for hours daily. Many trend forecasters and journalists believe that digital, interactive and virtual reality technologies will change and disrupt the art world in the years to come, so it will be interesting to see how the technologies evolve over time.

 

Pak Seo-Bo

Pak Seo-Bo  Pak Seo-Bo

Pak Seo-Bo

Pak Seo-Bo's ZIGZAG: Ecriture 1983-1992 at White Cube Mason's Yard

 

At the nearby White Cube, the second solo exhibition of Korean artists Pak Seo-Bo couldn't have been more disparate in form and style. The 86-year old is a leading figure in contemporary Korean art, and is famous for his Ecriture series which began in the 1970s. He is an artists associated with the Dansaekhwa (monochrome painting) aesthetics in post-war Korea, which redefined modern Korean art.

The exhibition featured his 'zigzag’ paintings from the Ecriture series made between 1983-1992. Inspired by Western abstraction in painting, Korean calligraphy, as well as Taoist and Buddhist philosophy, Park's abstract paintings undoubtedly resemble paintings by American abstract minimalists Agnes Martin and Robert Ryman.

Park said that the repetitive gestures and monochromatic environments of these works are a way of emptying the painting of the self, and achieving a unity with the nothingness in nature. His Zen-like paintings appear to be similar and repetitive from a distance, but up close, it is hard not to be engrossed by the textures and extraordinary subtle tones. Meditative and calming, Park's works are best appreciated in person because viewing them on paper/ via the computer would not do his works justice.

 

passage/s do ho suh

passage/s do ho suh  passage/s do ho suh

passage/s do ho suh

passage/s do ho suh  passage/s do ho suh

passage/s do ho suh

passage/s do ho suh  passage/s do ho suh

Do Ho Suh: Passage/s at Victoria Miro

 

Without forerunners like Park Seo-Bo, the contemporary Korean art scene would probably be quite different today. One of the 'hottest' Korean artists of today must be the London-based Do Ho Suh. I have seen works by the artist through print/internet for a long time, but I finally encountered the artist's Passage/s installations at Frieze art fair a few years ago. Unlike Park Seo-Bo's understated style, Do's Passage/s installations are conspicuous, colourful and distinctive. At Victoria Miro gallery, his nine one-to-one scale translucent fabric architectural structures occupied the 25-metre-long of the gallery, thereby creating a walk-through corridor for visitors to pass through.

Inspired by his peripatetic life, Do Ho Suh's works explore the boundaries of identity and the connection between the individual and the group across global cultures. In the globalised world we live in today, finding your identity is no longer easily discernible. Suh's attempt in capturing time, memory and space prompted him to create the fascinating man-size installations, which offer an insight into the issues of migration, transitions and identities that many of us face in this day and age. Coincidentally, Suh used to live at 348 W22nd Street in New York, whereas I used live at no. 318 on the same street and around the same period, so it was quite possible that we walked past each other in the street all these years ago.

I was also drawn to the intricate stitched objects inside the installations like water pipes, door handles and hinges, and even fire escape instructions... these familiar and yet seemingly mundane everyday things are wonderfully highlighted in his works.

 

Do Ho Suh, Entrance, Unit G5, Union Wharf, 23 Wenlock road, London, N1 7SB

passage/s do ho suhpassage/s do ho suh

Top: Entrance, Unit G5, Union Wharf, 23 Wenlock road, London, N1 7SB

 

Elsewhere at the gallery, there were Suh’s signature architectural pieces compressed into large-scale two-dimensional ‘drawings’; photographic images of interior spaces from various locations are digitally ‘stitched’ together; and a three-channel video Passage/s: The Pram Project, in which the artist, accompanied by his daughters, explores streets in South Korea and around his home in London.

Numerous artists have explore the theme of identities and migration, but Suh’s tactile three-dimensional installations enable visitors to share his memory and experiences in a more direct and tangible way. In the exhibition's press release, Suh said, “I see life as a passageway, with no fixed beginning or destination. We tend to focus on the destination all the time and forget about the in-between spaces. But without these mundane spaces that nobody really pays attention to, these grey areas, one cannot get from point a to point b.” And I couldn't agree more with him.

 

 


This post was posted in London, Exhibitions, Art, Anything Japanese, Japanese art, Asian art, contemporary, Korean art and was tagged with London, art and design exhibitions, Japanese art, contemporary art, Korean art, Do Ho Suh, Teamlab, Park Seo-Bo, immersive art, Digital art

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