press release

The exhibition Reenacting History_Collective Actions and Everyday Gestures will be held at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) in Gwacheon, Korea, from September 22, 2017 to January 21, 2018.

Reenacting History is an international exhibition that focuses on how the body and gestures can, as an artistic medium, reveal social, historical, and cultural contexts and interest from the 1960s to today. The body is a place in the front line, where “I” form a relationship with others, and a contact zone through which “I” encounter various situations in the world. At the same time, it is a “storehouse of memory,” where the past is inscribed, and a “social place,” where biopolitics function through power, capital, and knowledge. Since the 1960s, many artists who sought to bring the realm of life into art and integrate the two favored the body as an artistic medium, because the body is the fundamental existence of human life from the past to the present.

Representing thirty-eight artists and collectives from Korea and abroad, this exhibition is divided into three parts, based on gestural approaches to our life stories and on artistic attitudes. Part 1, titled “Performing Collective Memory and Culture,” illuminates works that recompose historical memory and cultural heritage through gestures. This section examines actions of Korean performance artists and Japanese avant-garde groups from the 1960 and 70s and how they used gestures to respond to and resist the particular socio-political conditions of the time. Part 2, titled “Everyday Gestures, Social Choreography,” takes the perspective of “social choreography” to cast light on works after the 1960s, which brought everyday gestures into the context of art to highlight issues of reality and life. Part 3, titled “Performing Community,” introduces works that use the body to reenact the social issues of our communities that arose amidst the rise of globalization after the late 1990s, as well as collective performances that involve intimate encounters of bodies and experiment with temporary communities based on collaboration and communication.

The gestures in Reenacting History record history that language failed to write down, history that cannot be summoned by language, and the history of trauma and absence that language cannot possibly bear. For this reason, “writing down history through gestures” could be an “alternative, resistant recording of history.”

A variety of cultural programs including a series of lectures and symposiums will be held to help visitors better understand the exhibition. A lecture-performance titled 1960’s Japanese Avant-garde Art and Performance Screening×Agitation is scheduled for Saturday, September 23, 2017. The performance will feature Kato Yoshihiro, the leader of Zero Jigen, and KuroDalaiJee, an expert on Japanese avant-garde art of the 1960s, from Fukuoka Asian Art Museum. On Saturday, November 4, 2017, a symposium on the exhibition Reenacting Historywill be held in collaboration with the Korean Society of Aesthetics and Science of Art, illuminating the social meaning of performance from an academic perspective.

Marina Abramović, Ai Weiwei, Allora & Calzadilla, Francis Alÿs, Chim↑Pom, Siobhan Davies & David Hinton, Willi Dorner, Dumb Type, Olafur Eliasson, Hirata Minoru, Hi Red Center, Ikemizu Keiichi, Jonouchi Motoharu, Kang Kukjin / Jung Kangja / Chung Chanseung, Kato Tsubasa, Kim Sung Hwan, Koizumi Meiro, Lee Kun-Yong, Lim Minouk, Gabriella Mangano & Silvana Mangano, Aernout Mik & Boris Charmatz, Nam Hwayeon, Okin Collective, Ono Yoko, Paik Nam June, Park Chankyong, Mika Rottenberg, Santiago Sierra, Song Dong, Hito Steyerl, Sung Neungkyung, Melati Suryodarmo, Tanaka Koki, Wu Tien-Chang, Samson Young, Zbig Rybczyński, Zhang Huan, Zero Jigen (38 domestic and international artists)