Seoul Museum of Art presents an exhibition of works by sanghee song

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Seoul Museum of Art presents an exhibition of works by sanghee song
sanghee song, Apple, 2021. Three-channel video, color, sound, 15:15 minutes. Installation view, Homo Natura, Seoul Museum of Art, 2021.12.16–2022.2.27. Photo: HONG Cheolki. Commissioned by Seoul Museum of Art.

SEOUL.- Homo Natura is a solo exhibition of the media artist sanghee song (b. 1970). The exhibition presents six new works commissioned by the Seoul Museum of Art, along with a work that has not yet been shown in Korea. The artist embraces various forms of media and builds her own visual language that unfolds contradictions of modern society inside a delicate narrative structure. The artist collects and studies various forms of literature such as myths, media reports, and historical records, and visits sites where these past traces remain. Based on the research, she has carried out aesthetic experiments that fuse different genres such as music, drawing, and literature into video works. Each reference has been woven into horizontally dense creative narratives suggesting open endings, and they gradually expand into larger narratives throughout her oeuvre. In an era of media convergence, how the artist builds her narratives intersect with a method of transmedia storytelling, wherein a narrative becomes more creatively enriched when it is divided and unfolds and is re-integrated again through various platforms. Furthermore, the artist can be regarded as a digital quiltmaker; her art practice is reminiscent of the process of overlaying colorful pieces of fabric sans hierarchy or a careful sewing which sublimates them into handicrafts with unique patterns and beauty.

For the past 20 years, sanghee song’s body of work, which has examined the origin of the dark sides of life through literary research and field exploration, has encountered several turning points. Her early interest in various women’s images in Korea soon extended towards other aspects of society, the nation state, and even the larger world to which they belong, illuminating the life alienated from social conventions, hierarchies, wars, colonial views, and capitalism. The artist, who has engaged with the voices of forgotten beings, brings up the topic of homo natura and carefully, yet actively, tries to initiate a conversation. The title of this exhibition is a quote from Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche criticized the absolute dualism represented by the notion of good and evil, and said “the terrible basic text of homo natura must be recognized even underneath these fawning colors and painted surfaces.”

Since some time ago, we often witness contradictions that our society does not try to understand each other, but only pushes personal stance further through coercion and sophistry. For those of us, humans, subjected to the world of infinite competition called neoliberalism, standards such as good and evil, sameness and difference, truth and falsehood seem clear at first glance, but in reality, an individual’s multifaceted human nature is intertwined in complex and subtle situations. Homo Natura is organized to reflect on humans by returning to this “terrible basic text,” in order to gain clues for our coexistence. At the same time, the exhibit leads the audience to glimpse the artist’s new attempt to form a mutual relationship with participants by presenting delicate drawings and objects, along with various filming devices and media. This imparts an artistic message that transcends the boundaries of media and provides an opportunity for viewers for active communication.

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