press release

Celebrating the 5th anniversary of the museum, SeMA, Buk-Seoul Museum of Art presents Title Match 2018: Hyungkoo Lee vs. Min Oh. Starting this year, Title Match departs from its previous format of juxtaposing an established artist to an emerging artist, but now opens up to include two artists (or collectives) of all ages. This year’s exhibition presents artists Hyungkoo Lee and Min Oh, whose works examine the subject of human body, sense and perception through unique perspectives.

The human body has been a central subject and motif in art for centuries. With the collapse of the rationalist worldview that was long at the heart of Western thought, the human body has reemerged as an important subject matter for artists today more than ever before, providing them an endless source of inspiration and creativity. Such a change derives from the realization that no matter how desperately we, as humans, try to reach the absolute and transcend our own existence here and now, we are ultimately physical and organic beings.

Assuming the role of a pseudo-scientist, artist Hyungkoo Lee analyzes, deconstructs and reconstructs the human body. Lee explores expanding the human body using his devices and contraptions, and our sense and perception by experimenting with media. Through his works, the artist reveals the incredible ability of the human body to adopt and systematically function in its environment. In this exhibition, Lee introduces his new work, Kiamkoysek, which further expands on the artist’s concepts on the human body. Enveloping the viewer with its vast, landscape-like scenery, the large-scale work reveals the anagogic relationship between man and universe by transforming images of human bones into a landscape of oddly-shaped rocks (kiamkoysek) that embody the laws of nature.

Artist Min Oh creates works that analyze and deconstruct musical structures through the eyes of a performer, or those that examine the physical sensations and conditions of performers on stage. In this exhibition, Oh examines the sensations and reactions internalized in performers’ bodies during training to achieve the moment of perfect control, while also focusing on their body language caught between repetition and difference, familiarity and unfamiliarity when they are put under unstable circumstances beyond their control. Oh’s three new works for this exhibition center on an Étude composition which requires specific techniques to master. The works connect to Oh’s earlier works on the theme of performance as mastering the Étude, in turn, leads to the beginning of mastering another piece that requires the same techniques. Through her works, Oh probes into the process of endless practice that is repeated until the performers would unconsciously react to every movement and sound in their own heads, then recalls those moments into the present of here and now.

Presenting the works of Hyungkoo Lee and Min Oh together in the format of a title match, the exhibition highlights the artists’ unique attitudes and methods of analyzing and deconstructing the objects revealed in the process of the work, then reconstructing them according to their own rules. The juxtaposition of the works also emphasizes the artists’ extraordinary perspectives on examining the subject of human body and perception. At the same time, the viewers will be able to appreciate the exceptional formal beauty of their works before drawing any comparison between the two artists. Through the works of Hyungkoo Lee and Min Oh, the exhibition hopes to provide an opportunity to reexamine the subject of human body through the cultural conditions and discursive environment of our society today.