An Era of Peace, A Peaceful Land
2018 to 2019
The COMMODITY & IDEOLOGY PART II further developed into An Era of Peace, A Peaceful Land, a commission project that culminated in an internationally touring exhibition. The phrases in the project’s title were taken from the inter-Korean Summit speeches given by President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Chairman Kim Jung Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) on April 27, 2018.
The exhibition began from Conrad Grebel University, Waterloo, ON, Canada on July 12 to October 5, 2018. It continued to Daecheong Island in South Korea on November 25 to December 1, 2018 and Incheon Culture & Arts Center in South Korea on January 4 to January 10, 2019. It concluded as a two-part exhibition at Ozaneaux ArtSpace, NY, on April 4 to May 2 and May 9 to August 30, 2019.
Curated by Heng-Gil Han, the exhibition featured 34 Artists, including Robert Morris (US), Suh Yongsun (South Korea), Hong Song Gwang (North Korea), Wu Gaozhong (China) and others. The project commissioned 11 artists from the US, China, and South Korea to visit the isolated Daecheong Island located at the maritime border with North Korea to make art about militarized daily life in Fall 2018. The artists engaged with island residents, actualizing the project’s theme idea that peace is not an absence of war but an interaction among people. The outputs of their public engagements were then exhibited in Daecheong Island, Incheon, and New York.
Associate programs included 15 in-person events, of which 2 gallery tours, 1 public discussion, and 3 artist talks were held in NYC. A print catalogue in English and Korean was distributed to 98 readers in NYC and the PDF version of the catalogue was shared with our 1,500 email subscribers and 4,547 Facebook friends. Through all activities, we engaged more than 2,021 diverse in-person participants and reached 6,347 virtual audiences. We estimate that 1,200 in-person participants and 1,800 virtual subscribers are from NYC. The project connected American, Chinese, and Korean artists with diverse audiences in Canada, Korea, and New York, advancing KAF’s function of supporting artists to disrupt the divided world to promote art’s relevance for peacebuilding.
The exhibit interpreted contemporary art from the perspective of Korea, a country that has been divided since 1945, the year that many art historians see as the beginning of contemporary art. In this perspective, the geographical boundary of contemporary art goes beyond the capitalist Western hemisphere and includes Communist countries. Artistic boundaries of contemporary art also extend to Socialist Realism and Eastern art traditions. The exhibit put forward a working hypothesis of art as a creative impetus and a system of generative judgements that differentiate and connect ever-changing realities in time and space.