the republic of korea’s national pavilion at the venice biennale presents the work of cody choi and lee wan. commissioned by arts council korea and curated by hyundai motor’s art director, lee daehyung, the joint exhibition entitled ‘counterbalance: the stone and the mountain’, focuses on the conflicts and dislocation that the two artists perceive in modern korean identity.
korean pavilion venice art biennale designboom 01
venetian rhapsody – the power of bluff (night view)
cody choi, venetian rhapsody – the power of bluff, 2016-17. neon, led, steel, canvas, pvc. 1243x1033x111cm. night installation view at the korean pavilion, 57th international art exhibition, la biennale di venezia. photo by riccardo tosetto. courtesy of the artist.

 

 

cody choi‘s work looks at korea’s modernisation by exploring the tension between its changing identity and the increasing influence of the west. ‘venetian rhapsody’ installed on the roof of the pavilion, is a glowing forest of neon signage that, says curator lee daehyung, ‘…borrows freely from the visual ambiance of casinos in las vegas and macao and reflects on the spectacle of global capitalism.’ choi’s work also includes the parodic sculpture known as ‘the thinker’, a reinvention of rodin’s sculpture constructed from toilet paper and the pink american stomach medicine pepto-bismol.

korean pavilion venice art biennale designboom 02
venetian rhapsody – the power of bluff (day view)
cody choi, venetian rhapsody – the power of bluff, 2016-17. neon, led, steel, canvas, pvc. 1243x1033x111cm. day installation view at the korean pavilion, 57th international art exhibition, la biennale di venezia. photo by riccardo tosetto. courtesy of the artist.

 

 

lee wan belongs to a younger generation of korean artists. through his work, lee wan investigates the hidden lives of individuals exploited by global power structures in countries all over asia and beyond.
 
among his works at this year’s biennale arte is ‘proper time’, which consists of 668 clocks, each inscribed with the name, date of birth, nationality and occupation of individuals the artist met and interviewed around the world, researching the widely differing economic circumstances of working people. according to lee daehyung, ‘each clock moves at a different rate that is determined by the amount of time the individual in question must work in order to afford a meal.’ the result is an absurdist aggregation of abstract portraits that doubles as a loud, dizzying multi-sensorial and immersive representation of global inequality.

korean pavilion venice art biennale designboom 03
mr. k and the collection of korean history (venice installation view)
lee wan, mr. k and the collection of korean history, 2010-2017. photographs and assorted archive objects. dimensions variable. installation view at the korean pavilion, 57th international art exhibition, la biennale di venezia. photo by the artist. courtesy of the artist.

 

 

speaking about the exhibition, lee daehyung says ‘recent world events and trends, such as the rise of right-wing populist movements and general backlash against immigrants have brought issues of identity and difference to the fore. the two artists that the korean pavilion is featuring are delving into the machinations of global networks as well as into the politics of identity, each offering a different window into our shared world, whilst reflecting on the influence and repercussions of worldwide phenomena on korea.’

 

the 57th international venice art biennale, titled ‘VIVA ARTE VIVA’ is on until the 26th of november.

korean pavilion venice art biennale designboom 04
mr. k and the collection of korean history (venice installation view- detail frame shot)
lee wan, mr. k and the collection of korean history, 2010-2017. photographs and assorted archive objects. dimensions variable. photo by the artist. courtesy of the artist.

korean pavilion venice art biennale designboom 05
the thinker (venice installation view)
cody choi, the thinker, 1995-96. toilet paper, pepto-bismol, wood. installation view at the korean pavilion, 57th international art exhibition, la biennale di venezia. photo by riccardo tosetto. courtesy of arario museum and the artist.


cody’s legend vs. freud’s shit box (venice installation view)
cody choi, cody’s legend vs. freud’s shit box, ed 2/3+ap, 2017. bronze, wood, steel. installation view at the korean pavilion, 57th international art exhibition, la biennale di venezia. photo by riccardo tosetto. courtesy of the artist.


proper time (pictured with for a better tomorrow)
lee wan, proper time: though the dreams revolve with the moon, 2017. 668 clocks. dimensions variable. installation view with for a better tomorrow at the korean pavilion, 57th international art exhibition, la biennale di venezia. photo by the artist. courtesy of the artist.


proper time (detail frame shot)
lee wan, proper time: though the dreams revolve with the moon, 2017. 668 clocks. dimensions variable. installation view at the korean pavilion, 57th international art exhibition, la biennale di venezia. photo by the artist. courtesy of the artist.


for a better tomorrow (detail frame shot)
lee wan, for a better tomorrow, 2016-17. plastic. 60x70x70cm. installation view at the korean pavilion, 57th international art exhibition, la biennale di venezia. photo by the artist. courtesy of the artist.


made in (objects installation)
lee wan, made in, 2013-present. 12 documentaries and 12 objects. made in objects installation view. photo by the artist. courtesy of the artist.


cheesekhwa (color painting) – red
cody choi, cheesekhwa (color painting) – red, 2016-17. oil on canvas. 124.3×161.7 cm. courtesy of the artist.

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