artist / participant
Donghee Koo - Delivery
July 20–September 1, 2019
Korean artist Donghee Koo discovers peculiar corners of daily life, transforming them into spatial installations to reveal the three-dimensional structures of the truths and invisible worlds behind real-world phenomena. The exhibition Delivery focuses on complex networks of migration, summoning the movements that arise in those pathways and their shifting speeds into the gallery setting.
Delivery starts with the idea of “deliveries”—a part of everyone’s lives today—to create an integrated exhibition that incorporates video and installation work referencing Art Sonje Center’s unique architectural structure. Following on the heels of Koo’s 2014 Korea Artist Prize exhibition Way of Replay at National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea and her Way of Replay II (Off Peak) from the 2017 Sharjah Biennial, this exhibition is a large-scale installation that makes use of the physical shape and usage context of the exhibition setting and the spaces surrounding it. For Way of Replay in 2014, Koo created a kind of Moebius strip with a steel skeleton structure based on her own memories of the Seoul Grand Park; in 2017, she produced a structure that reflected the architectural shapes around the exhibition site and the local climate in Sharjah. In all three of the works mentioned here, the emphasis is on the viewers’ physical experience as they move about rather than simply “viewing.”
Delivery services have undergone an explosive increase in use. With the growth of the Internet, a rise in single-person households, and developments in transportation systems, things have reached the point where there is almost nothing that cannot be delivered to your door. In a society of accelerated growth like Korea’s, speed has become a more important metric in deliveries than in any other area of services. Along with the speed contest exemplified by same-day deliveries, late night deliveries, and so-called “bullet deliveries,” it is now commonplace for every sort of food item to be delivered to homes. An artist who looks to everyday events and experiences to find subject matter for her work, Donghee Koo spotlights the delivery phenomenon in this exhibition. She transforms the delivery’s hallmark quality of speed—shifting the different perspectives in the surrounding environment, borrowing from the movements of delivery and distorting its temporal qualities to transpose them into an experience for the viewers moving through the exhibition space.
The artist gathers data from TV, the Internet, and other popular media. Assembling the peculiar hidden aspects of the everyday that she uncovers in her search, she compresses and expands them into distorted images, or joins them to other bodies or phenomena. Through a change in perspective, these images meet installations of ever-shifting size and spatiality—“delivering” a peculiar sensory experience. As we walk inside the works formed through this mixture of impulse and planning, we may experience the true face of a present day that operates less by reason than by irrational intention—the “impurity of life.”
Koo’s solo exhibition at Art Sonje Center is the first in a long while in which she is attempting the sensory shift through a comprehensive spatial installation. It is a curious world where beginnings and endings are connected, where inside and outside are juxtaposed, and where reality rubs up against its own underside—inviting the viewer into a physical experience with bends and crooks that could not be grasped simply through two-dimensional images.
About the Artist Based in Seoul, Donghee Koo works with various media including installation, sculpture, video, photographic images, etc. Her works have been internationally introduced in different places such as National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, Rockbund Art Museum, Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern, Sharjah Biennial, Media City Seoul, Gwangju Biennale, Busan Biennale, Nanjing Triennale, etc.
Curated by Haeju Kim (Deputy Director, Art Sonje Center) Production Management by Heehyun Cho (Assistant Curator, Art Sonje Center) Organized by Art Sonje Center Supported by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture