Seoul – 2003
After many years of working with the impressive Korean Art World as Nam June Paik’s dealer at the Holly Solomon Gallery, I thought it would be interesting to create a show in Seoul and New York City with emerging artists. As a New York gallery owner and independent curator I thought of suggesting Crossing Parallels to the Ssamzie Space. Their reputation of supporting and developing emerging Korean artists is so respected that I knew director Kim Hong-Hee would be interested in learning about the exhibition. The idea was to create a situation forcing the East and West to merge through site-specific installations.
Even with the globalization of the world, communication and information of the separate Korean and New York art scenes is still quite limited. And certainly direct communication between emerging artists is almost non-existent. By creating a link between both cultures through their artists I am hoping to extend each artist’s community to the other side of the world. In Crossing Parallels, seven emerging artists were selected from both countries based on their installation vision. Prior to the physical meeting and actual collaboration of installation making, the artists will communicate weekly by telephone, fax, and email. A true exchange of ideas both of personal and artistic nature is the goal.
As curator, the main emphasis of Crossing Parallels is to challenge each of the participating artists to learn new things, a common goal that develops with their work and careers. However, I am hoping that in addition to learning and articulating their own artistic goals the artists will also expand their growth process by learning about different, cultures, religious ideology, philosophical beliefs, etc. through their counterpart. Also, to experience a new culture through the eyes of a native resident will naturally change their perception of the East and West exploring their similarities as well as differences. With all of the cultural and intellectual exchanges taking place through the communication process between the Korean and American artists, I hope that a larger understanding of the “self” will develop.
This underlying factor is quite important to Crossing Parallels as the goal of extending one’s understanding of life and art is one of the primary goals of the show. As the artists familiarize themselves with their counterparts, I hope that a natural bonding will occur between members of both groups. A true effort by all artists to understand each other is vital for a successful and enjoyable experience. The participating artists will have already discussed conceptual and formal issues and will then have the opportunity to realize their ideas. Even though the process of art making is very intellectual, there is no reason why the artists cannot have fun. I hope they will not eliminate these experiences from the process! I feel that on a curatorial level, it is my role to set up a unique situation allowing the artists to face new and exciting challenges. There will be no boundaries in what may be realized for this exhibition and that will foster great art creating.
Certainly as a curator, an exhibition must emerge in the end. Similar to a research laboratory, Crossing Parallels will allow the artists to learn from one another and to experiment. This is the main focus of the exhibition. The by-product of the artists’ shared experience will naturally result in good art installations. However, the experience of developing the ideas and actual works as well as working together will be the true art that is made. The pressure from making good “product” will be minimized through curatorial leadership. The artists’ natural ability and knowledge of site-specificity will assist them in creating didactic, powerful, and intelligent works of art. In the end, curator, artist, and viewer will all learn something new through Crossing Parallels.