2011 Changwon Asian Art Festival
City: Gyeongnam
Curator: Baik Gyun Kim (Korea)、Cheol Ha Ryu (Korea)、Xia Yanguo (China)
Duration: 2011-04-16 ~ 2011-05-10
Opening: April 16th, 2011, 3pm.
Venue: Sungsan Art-Hall
Address: Yongho-dong2, Changwon City, Gyeongnam, South Korea
Participating Artist(s): Chen Wenling,Leslie DE Chavez,Robert Rhee,Alison Guidry,Osman Khan,Stone Kim,Izumi TARO,Joongkeun ee, Nikki S. Lee,Huang Min, Daewoong Nam,Motohiko Odant,Sherman Ong,Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, Yooah Park,Young-Dae Park, Araya RASDJARMREARNSOOK,Tomoko Sawada,M
Host(s): Changwon Asian Art Festival Steering Commitee
Organizer: Changwon Fine Arts Association, Changwon Young Artists Association, ChangwonCultural Foundation
Co-organization(s): Gyeongnam Province, Changwon City, Cyeongsangnam-do Branch of the Korean Fine Arts Association, Federation of Artsist and Cultural Organization of Changwon, Korean Fine Arts Association

Structure of the Exhibition

21st Century international relations are approaching a new order and in the middle of this reformation is East Asia. Since the 17th ~ 20th Century world order was centered in the West, East Asia has historically been defined and understood according to the Western dialectical framework of the subject and the other. However it would be too simplistic for East Asia to be defined today as the "third world" or the "East" as the late Edward Said described. While many countries in East Asia have yet to overcome "modern" thought structures to proclaim their own unique social systems, efforts to transcend dialectical thought structures of modernity had been noticed throughout the region. How do we outgrow the modern and in which direction do we aim? A re-tuning of the economic and cultural geography would entail more than a mere parallel migration.


The term "Post-modernism" has been used to define the character of our time. Perhaps it has already become a cliché to say that we are living in the post-modern era. When I hear such claims, I cannot help myself from pausing and asking a rather old fashioned question; Are we really living in the post-modern era? Have we (as Asians) really overcome the modern? I ask such a redundant and anachronistic question today because I feel that the problems of Asia, and more specifically the problems in Contemporary Asian Art, is the lack of self-reflexive thought; feelings and forms of our own. The core of modernity is the discovery of the self. Deluding ourselves into feeling the senses and thinking the thoughts we have received as if they were our own and chasing after trends are common phenomena that can be observed not only in the arts. I think one of the fundamental problems of our society (in the East) more or less stems from our inability to think and feel for ourselves. Like Nietzsche said, "We don't know ourselves…"The search for the self is a painful journey because self-discovery begins first with suspecting what we believe to be ourselves. Without a rigorous understanding of the self, without thoroughly experiencing modernity, post-modernism simply cannot exist. Post-modernism's first step is located where subjects formerly excluded as "others" by Western modernity are reborn into legitimate subjects.

The subject must be accompanied by a self-reflexive consciousness in order for it to be subjective. The exhibition Self Camera: Repositioning Modern Self aims at telling stories of the loss and capture of the self found in the master narrative of modernity, and stories of identities collectivizing into nationalism within the specificity of an individual experience. Therefore the exhibition unfolds around the discovery and experience of the modern self. The exhibition aims to overcome the pain and reality of modernity through art forms that reexamine thoughts around the modern experience with a subjective perspective.

Just as we define the "other" in order to define who we are, in order to relativize modernity and to reveal a subject looking at this modernity, there must be an inner and outer boundary of this subject. The "other" of the modern does not merely become an object in the spatial axis but inevitably spills over to reveal itself as an object in the temporal axis as well. Thus not only does the cultural "other" get defined-the East as spatial other to the West, or Japan and China as national other to the modern nation state of Korea-but also the temporal threshold defined by the "before" and "after" of modernity emerges, revealing temporal interiors and exteriors simultaneously. The uniqueness of modern experience in Northeast Asia is characterized by an internalizing of the other's (Western) experience which results in a very structured consciousness that limits our thoughts. This limited awareness in most cases puts on the mask of nationalism, producing a paradoxical situation of denouncing and succeeding tradition at the same time. This paradox, for most nations in Northeast Asia, is rooted in the fact that modernity was an imposed experience.

The Opium War (1840~1842) triggered Western infiltration of Asia in the 19th Century ensuing absorption of many Northeast Asian countries into structures of western modern consciousness. The turbulence that many Northeast Asian countries experienced was a cold reality unavoidably attached to the processes of modernization. The modernization process revealed itself first as examinations of modernity Western consciousness had crafted, then immediately following as paradoxes and conflicts created by the dual opposition to and radical adaptation of one-sided westernization.

The struggle ended with a single-handed victory of the desire for Westernization spearheaded by its power of capital and logic. However, the endless exponential growth of wealth proclaimed by the myth of capitalism seems to be waning today. It seems ever more pertinent now to reassess the discourse of modernity, particularly as it relates to the Northeast Asian form of modernity here in S. Korea. History belongs to the present and is the product of constant reinterpretation.

The foremost threat felt by the Chinese following the Opium War was rooted in the superiority of Western technology. Science and technology had laid the foundation for enormous Western military strength, material wealth and power which it exhibited with its advanced weapons. The Chinese expected to construct a material civilization equivalent to that of the West by absorbing its science and technology. A self-strengthening movement, referred to as the 洋務運動 (Western Affairs Movement), following the defeat of China in the Opium war, was an attempt at reevaluating and incorporating Western civilization. Theoretical frameworks that promoted Westernization can be seen in theories like 中體西用論 (Chinese philosophy as substance and Western philosophy as function). These kinds of movements were seen throughout Northeast Asia, in Korea 東道西器 (Eastern morality and Western technology), and in Japan as 和魂洋才 (Japanese Spirit and Western Knowledge).

However, since the Sino-Japanese war in the late 19th Century, people in many countries had begun to feel serious gaps between the traditional value system and the new culture of scientific technology. The defeat of China in the Opium war was traumatic not only to the Chinese but also to all the East Asian countries considered Chinese civilization to be the most advanced in the world. In some ways it was more shocking to the Koreans and the Japanese rather than the Chinese. The Northeast Asian countries were overwhelmed by the power of Western material civilization and finally were forced to embark on a journey of full scale Westernization. The destruction of traditional values was rapid, the same maladies of modernization experienced in the West, particularly human alienation, recurred and the denial of traditional values embedded a defeatism deeply into the popular unconscious.

At the end of the modern lies the end of the hope that western modern values are capable of solving humanity’s problems. What comes after western capitalism? Some say that it is time to prepare for what is next, but in Northeast Asia, a new beginning is possible only if we start healing the remaining wounds of the modernization process and free ourselves from the defeatism that came along with the spell of the modern. Now we wish to start the celebration of the healing.

The city of Changwon (in South Korea) seems to be a fitting place for us to look back at our modernity and heal the wounds because Changwon is a city that strangely bears the symbol of modernism in Korea. Modernity is made up of three elements; democracy, nationalism and capitalism. The modern city of Changwon that unifies former Masan and Jinhae is a symbolic space where paradoxical elucidations of modern ideals are maximized from the stand point of Korea as a modern ethnocentric nation. The death of Kim Joo-yul, a student of the Masan trade High School sparked a fire that grew into the 4.19 revolution and marked the beginning of the modern Korean democratic movement. When nationalism is expressed through national prosperity and military power, it first takes the form of a Navy, and of course the basis for the S. Korean Navy is in Jinhae. Capitalism, the most acute symbol of modernity, pairs together with industrialization in building the industrial city of Changwon. Changwon is a symbol and a portrait of modernity in S. Korea.

In Changwon we will dissolve the deformed image of modernity and draw out a new ideal. A new image is possible only at the juncture where the enigma of modernity wastes away because we have sacrificed much and been pierced by so many physical and spiritual wounds in the effort for modernization. We wish to console the fatigue, embrace our scars, and create a space for reflecting upon our lives and dreams. The exhibition will take the form of a festival in order to provide a nest of sincere embrace and the healing of our scars.

Structure of the Exhibition

2011 Changwon Asia Art Festival, Self Camera: Repositioning Modern Self is a question about the core problems of modernity, the subject and the self. Artworks by artists who are deeply concerned with issues regarding self and identity will make up the exhibition. Our essential question is the direction of identity. Our goal is to liberate the oppressed sense of identity from the collective identity defined by modernity through artworks that feel and view the collective in a subjective way.

As the discourse of modernity is revealed through nationalism, democracy and capitalism this exhibition will center round three categories. The phenomenon of malformed collective identity is closed nationalism. In order to overcome the antagonism of closed nationalism in an age of co-existence there is a need for understanding the fundamentals of nationalism. The first part of the exhibition will be comprised of artworks that exhibit different forms of consciousness around nationalism. The second part of the exhibition is about democracy. Democracy and revolution initiate from the discovery of the self, therefore the exhibition will be comprised of narratives regarding the self, the other, and equality. The third part will be the truth and illusion of capitalism; exhibition centers round woes and realization of desire capitalism foster.

More than anything else this exhibition will contain a process of healing from the conflicts and paradoxes of the modern discourse. We want to create this healing in the form of a festival. The point of a festival is enjoyment, however there must be an objective in this enjoyment. As an art festival, Self Camera: Repositioning Modern Self looks at forms stiffened by existing values as the object of enjoyment. Through artworks that give the pleasure of twisting the blind zeal of the meaningless forms of modernity missing its content we will create a platform for reflecting upon the fundamental values of life.

Confucius asks "Does the word Li (礼: beauty/courtesy) merely refer to silk and jade? Does the word music, merely refer to the sound of a drum and a bell?" A genuine courtesy exists in the content contained within the form. The content is the heart that respects and honors the other. The value of music lies in the rigor of interaction and openness of emotions. The exhibition will create an arena for deriving frankness. By taking on a humorous attitude of subversive forms we may oppose existing values to peek at the hope for new ones. We will acquire a new vision of the existing world at the moment that our daily or logical way of being dissolves into the gate of a sensual world order through festivity. Self Camera will provide the rapture of revealing the material in its original state by disavowing the existing world and presenting hope for the new world.

#p#副标题#e#2011 Changwon Asian Art Festival is an international art exhibition co-hosted by Changwon Fine Arts Association, Changwon Young Artists Association, and Changwon Cultural Foundation's Seongsan Art-Hall in the City of Changwon, Gyeongnam Province, South Korea. This year, over 30 artists from Asia, America and Europe are invited to exhibit under the main theme of "Self-Camera: Repositioning Modern Self."

The festival originated from the Yongji Outdoor Art Festival in 1996 where several young artists tried to explore the spirit of contemporary art and seek the future course of art in this region. It has evolved into an annual festival starting from 2004 and since then, under a different theme year after year, it has served as a field in which the contemporary Asian artists exchange ideas and develop a critical discourse with each other as well as with the audience. With a history of 7 years, Changwon Asian Art Festival is successfully marking its place in the world of art events as a guideline for reviewing the current status of Asian art and predicting its future.

This year, the the Festival will comprise of " Self-Camera: Repositioning Modern Self ," the main exhibition, a special exhibition entitled "Ink Paintings," and various complimentary events.

Self-Camera: Repositioning Modern Self

The main theme for this year's Changwon Asian Art Festival, "Self-Camera: Repositioning Modern Self," came forth while questioning the "modernity" of Asian art. "Self-camera" is a uniquely Asian terminology. Mainly used throughout East Asian countries—Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, etc.—it refers to the act of photographing oneself. With the widespread use of digital cameras, taking a picture of one's own face with an arm stretched out and the lens facing back at oneself is not an uncommon practice at other parts of the world; yet it is only in East Asia that people have given this a name. We cannot see ourselves while we remain within ourselves; we have to construct an outside eye in order to look at our own faces: these are the main ideas that revolve around this year's Changwon Asian Art Festival. In order to reveal the self, we must presuppose an "other" – who is none other than our very selves. This is the narrative through which we approach the question of subjectivity and the realization of modernity in East Asia.

* For the full statement, please refer to "【Exhibition Statement】2011 Changwon Asian Art Festival"Self-Camera:Repositioning Modern Self".doc"

Other Events

Lectures on the main theme of the exhibition will tak place at Seongshin Women's University in Seoul. In Changwon, the main exhibition, "Self-Camera: Repositioning Modern Self," will be accompanied by a special exhibition on contemporary ink painting; and the local artists will also present various exhibitions and project throughout the Festival.

Curatorial Team

Baik Gyun Kim

Aesthetician, Art Critic, Curator

Born in 1968 in S. Korea, Baik Gyun KIM graduated from Seoul National University in 1992, and received his Ph.D. degree in Aesthetics from Department of Philosophy, Peking University, in 2000. KIM has served as a Senior Researcher in Institute of Humanities at Seoul National University from 2001 to 2003, and now is an associate professor in College of Arts at Chung-Ang University.

Cheol Ha Ryu

After completing his B.A. in Korean Language and Literature at Chungnam National University, College of Humanities, RYU moved on to Hongik University Gradute School of Liberal Art, Science and Aesthetics for his Master's Degree. After graduation he had served at Museum of Art Woljeon as the chief curator. The exhibitions RYU curated include:

Woljeon Chang woo-soung the ninetieth exhibition 2001.09.13-16

Guan Shanyue, the Master of Lingnan painting school 2008. 05.08-06.28

Ink Painting of Dong Xiaoming, Hanbyukwon gallery by Woljeon culture Foundation 2008.05.09-28

Xia Yanguo

Art Critic, Independent Curator

Xia Yanguo graduated from Art History Department of Central Academy of Fine Art. XIA has been committed to study of Contemporary Young Chinese Artists and Art Phenomenon. Also through the thematic exhibition, presents and interprets current situation and problem of Chinese Contemporary Art.



[Editor] Elemy Liu