Technology and the New Era

My visit to the South Korean Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale

Weeks before my trip to Venice I marked the Korean pavilion as one of my first stops given the exhibition of transdisciplinary artist Yunchul Kim merged high tech with art, something I am passionate about and I apply daily in my work. Finally, the time came to visit the pavilion. What I saw exceeded all my expectations. Before me stood a roofless space where five spectacular kinetic installations and one wall drawing resided. The massive scale works constantly changed before my eyes and received cues from light, atmosphere, and nature. Even if these works were made with high-tech materials and experimental processes, the mysterious-looking creatures had a mythical air that created a bridge between the past and the future. 

The show, titled Gyre, was filled with symbols and metaphors that relate to the artist’s desire to explore the continuous cycle of beginnings and endings. Some of the works, which were arranged in three far-reaching themes, depended on each other to function while others made me question what I was seeing.  For example, the massive installation titled Chroma V, which looks like a giant mythical creature, breathes and pulsates thanks to the signals it receives from another work titled Argos-The Swollen Suns. Argos by itself is also impressive as it is composed of hundreds of glass tubes that flash with light as it detects imperceptible matter from outer space (subatomic muon particles). This interconnection was also reflected in the large-scale wall drawing that illustrates the interaction of matter, time, objects, and beings through abstract forms. Notably, on one of my two visits to the pavilion, an unexpected visitor arrived, a real-life bee. Was it supposed to be part of the exhibition or was this simply a beautiful coincidence?

I think the exhibition reflects what is possible to achieve when creatively inviting technology,  literature, mythology, philosophy, and science into art making. In this case, the artist was able to build an alternate and ever-changing yet harmonious universe that allows us, the viewers, to have a powerful sensorial experience. However, when exiting this show, I also thought about how we humans seem to be trapped within a frame dictated by society or technology. Where do we come from? Where are we heading?  Certainly, all these questions are also part of this successful show which I must say, was one of the most crowded ones and was also a favorite among my group. It seems that we all crave art with which we can connect in this sometimes disconnected world.

Author Dima Bondarenko

Editor Constanza Ontiveros, Art History PhD

Oct. 20, 2022

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