ASIA ART SPACE ARTIST RESIDENCY
Seoul Art Space Geumcheon wrapped up its 2011 international artist residency exhibition, called “Reflections of an Outsider on ‘Outsiders'”, in December 2011, prompting Art Radar to take a closer look at this and the other centers that make up Seoul Art Space’s cultural network.
Seoul Art Space Geumcheon home to international artists
Seoul Art Space Geumcheon in Doksan-dong is quickly establishing itself as an epicenter in Korea for the facilitation of global exchange of ideas. The organisation focuses on the sharing of culture, experience and knowledge between local and international artists during six month to one year long residencies that culminate in a group exhibition. Between 2009 and 2011, 41 artists from seventeen countries were supported by the art space.
A new residency theme is proposed every year. In 2010, for example, there was an open call for Da Vinci Idea 2011, a concept which encouraged artists to combine creative output with technology. Robotic works, digital art, kinetic art and works using wireless networks were part of the final exhibition, giving the audiences a glimpse into how artists are using the latest media. In December 2011, The Korea Times reported on an exhibition of work by the eight international artists in residence at Geumcheon that year, called “Reflections of an Outsider on ‘Outsiders'”. Much of the art work on show addressed Korean labour issues or movements.
Since 2010, Seoul Art Space Geumcheon has also been running an artist exchange programme in collaboration with overseas institutions including Hangar.org (Barcelona, Spain), SMART Project Space (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Bank ART 1929 (Yokohama, Japan), apexart (New York, USA) and Gertrude Contemporary (Melbourne, Australia). Selected artists are provided with a return airfare, and all their living and workplace costs are covered for the one to three months that they are in residence. They are also given the opportunity to exhibit their works and to be a part of an Expert Support Program through which they meet and work with local art professionals.
“Community art” is a focus for Geumcheon, and the term is defined by the centre as an activity that contributes to the understanding of the pervading culture of local and foreign communities. The concept is one of the driving forces behind the programmes that were implemented by Geumcheon in 2010 and 2011, each aimed at building an awareness of Korean social issues and increasing the local community’s interaction with art.
Repurposing abandoned Seoul buildings for art
Seoul Art Space, founded in 2008, has a dual mission that differentiates it from other art foundations. It tries to serve the needs of artists and the local community by reviving abandoned and idle buildings and reestablishing them as venues for both art creation and wider cultural engagement. The organisation is affiliated with Seoul Foundation for Arts & Culture and was started by the Seoul Metropolitan Government as part of an ongoing “culturenomics” policy push.
Heo Eun Hyi, Public Relations Representative at Seoul Art Space, explains the concepts that the organisation is grounded in,
The idea … behind Seoul Art Space is to create multi-faceted spaces where artists of different genres such as visual arts, performing arts and literature can exchange ideas, and a place where citizens and artists can come together. Seoul Art Space aims to increase the dialogue between art and the industry in the hope of creating new projects…. Unlike the previous [idea] of a large cultural or arts center in one area, Seoul Art Space aims at reaching out to more people by making small but significant differences everywhere.
11 Seoul Art spaces
As of January 2012, there are eleven venues that make up Seoul Art Space, with locations throughout the Korean capital.
Seoul Art Space Mullae and Seoul Art Space Geumcheon support the visual arts, with a focus on dialogue and collaboration between local artists and those from abroad. International artist exchanges and residencies feature strongly in the programming for the centre. Mullae was opened on 28 January 2010 in a former industrial area that is emerging as one of Seoul’s premier artist communities, and it provides local artists with studios, hostels and theatre and exhibition spaces. Geumcheon opened in October of 2009 in a renovated printing factory and is a hub for local and international artists. The venue has studios, hostels and a collaborative work area.
Seoul Art Space Seogyo opened on 19 June 2009 and is a center for experimental arts that houses an art archive and a number of art magazine offices. The multicultural space is located in the Hongdae area and is affiliated with the nearby Hongik University, which is well known for its progressive art and design departments. Seogyo participates in the annual Hongdae Festival, and its annual programming includes workshops, performances and exhibitions.
Another Seoul Art Space venue in Sindang caters to the development of art and crafts with residency programmes for artists that work in a variety of fields including pottery and embroidery, an open studio event for resident artists and a crafts studio that is made available for use by the local community. The centre is located in a former indoor market where 52 vacant shops were converted into forty small studios.
There are also spaces in the network that support cultural practitioners working in design, performing arts, literature, art for children and art therapy.
What is in store for 2012 at Geumcheon?
Click here to follow Seoul Art Space Geumcheon’s blog for the latest on activities for 2012.
Some of the events and programmes for 2012 at Seoul Art Space Geumcheon include an international symposium with a focus on global art issues and an open call for the fourth international resident artist programme. Also on their calendar is a creative educational programme called 1 Night and 2 Days with Artists, a workshop for high school students, moderated by residency artists, that attempts to build links between art, technology and young people.
- Echo: Support for contemporary Iraqi art – January 2012 – Art Radar interviews founding director Rijin Sahakian on functions of Echo
- Tokyo Wonder site 2011 solos for 20 emerging Japanese artists – December 2011 – Art Radar lists the artists and takes a closer look at five of them
- Modernity through eyes of 8 South Korean photographers – October 2011 – Galerie Paris-Beijing exhibition on eight contemporary Korean photographers
- Hong Kong Wan Chai Visual Archive: community art experimentation – August 2011 – non-profit, community-focused, and it will cease to exist in the next two or three years
- Representing South Korea at the 54th Venice Biennale: Lee Yong-baek and his art – December 2010 – artist Lee Yong-baek presents his works Broken Mirror and Angel Soldier
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