The exhibition Penguins that go to the mountain will present works created by artists – most of which are students or recent graduates – that still decide to head towards the unknown despite the incalculable dangers inherent to following uncertain paths. Embracing works beyond the visual arts, the practitioners presented produce critical and demanding work that often relates to the surreal and fictional – from ‘Wonderland’ to ‘Antarctica’.
By proposing an alternative look at current artistic production, Penguins that go to the mountain celebrates these emerging artists and in so doing also commemorates Nam June Paik’s accomplishments challenging new territories and his ability to combine many, often unrelated, genres. The title of the exhibition is taken from Werner Herzog’s 2007 Antarctic documentary Encounters at the end of the world, a film mainly about the “professional dreamers” that work at the American McMurdo Station in Antarctica. An exceptional scene in the film shows a penguin that leaves the colony to head for the unknown mountain. Like this penguin, artists often select to wander off into unknown territory, taking incalculable risks and venturing against the mainstream to conquer new territories. Not driven by status or money, it is often an unconscious, but incontestable decision that is made. Like going down the (in)famous rabbit hole – once the decision is made, a great adventure lies ahead that can be as fascinating as it can be disastrous. And the former is not necessarily better than the latter!
Penguins that go to the mountain will be an exciting journey from the ordered and well known to the broken up and disastrous. Set on the second floor of the Nam June Paik Art Center, with parts also venturing out into the first floor Permanent Exhibition, the show will take chances not only in the selected art works but also in their presentation, questioning the common and venturing to the unknown. Like Herzog’s film, the exhibition will present very different characters, attempts and ideas originated by people who have chosen to search for more than what given conditions sometimes have to offer. Like the deep-sea-diver in the film, the exhibition explores the potentialities of new organisms that exist in the darkest depths of the oceans and in so doing questions the surface that often constitutes our reality.
Mongjoo Son, Subin Heo, EunPhil Cho, Jinwoo Ryu, Vaemo, Moowang Moon, Ddan Yeoja, Mano Ahn, Jinwook Moon, Sei Rhee, Joonghyup Seo, Jaehee Shin, Seungwon Park, Dokyun Kim, Sohyun Moon, Jihoi Lee, Hojun Song, Kimoon Kim, Jaechoul Jeoung, Donhui, Yoon, 폿팉