“The Composition of Social Memories,” in Activating Korea: Tides of Collective Action,
exhibition catalogue, Govett-Brewster Gallery (New Plymouth, New Zealand, 2008).
Artists: BAE Young Whan, CDC, flyingCity, JNP Production, KIM Gisoo, Sang-Don KIM, KO Hyun
Joo, Minouk Lim, mixrice, Hein-kuhn OH, and PARK Chan-kyong. Exhibition design by CHOI
Curators: Mercedes Vicente, Curator Contemporary Art Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, and Beck
Jee-sook, Director of ARKO Art Center
Activating Korea was on view at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, New Zealand,
from September to November 2007. A bilingual English/Korean publication featuring essays
by curators Mercedes Vicente and Beck Jee-sook, and Young Min Moon, was published in 2008.
Activating Korea: Tides of collective action looks at the complex and contradictory
meanings of collectivism in South Korean contemporary artistic practices, within a society
where traditional values coexist with today’s multifaceted changes. The works in this
exhibition represent a shift from the political representations of South Korea’s
authoritarian government, the Cold War and national division heralded by 1980s Minjung
(people’s) art. Today, artists aim to raise awareness and effect change around issues such
as urban development, immigration and national identity, and choose to work in collectives
or collaboratively with communities drawing on activist art practices, research and
project-based activities. Featuring a range of media from photography, banners, posters,
to video and design, the artists in this exhibition challenge the fast-paced cultural,
economic and political changes facing South Korea.
© Images the Artists & Govett-Brewster Gallery 2008