Plastic Myths

Asia Culture Center (ACC), Gwangju / Republic of Korea

November 25, 2015

November 25, 2015–May 15, 2016

Space 2
Gwangju
South Korea

www.acc.go.kr
www.plasticmyths.org

Artists: Eunji Cho, Hong Soun, Ryo Ikeshiro, Interaction Sound Lab (Byungjun Kwon, Geunchae Kim, Youjin Jeon), Kang Young Mean, KANG Soyoung Liilliil, Inbai Kim, So Young Kim+Sookyun Yang, Yunchul Kim, Klega, Sun LAH, Dinh Q. Lê, Byungchan Lee, Wan Lee, Ye Seung Lee, Youngho Lee, Oksang Lim, Ujino, Nagi Noda, Marc Oosting, Sascha Pohle, The Bite Back Movement (Seung Youn Lee + Alexander Augustus), Transmedia Lab (Earl Park, Sookhyun Yang, Taiyun Kim, Jihyun Yoon), Tuan Mami, Vakki, Won Kwang Sik (Human Cultural Asset No.112), Wong Lip Chin, Xu Zhen (Produced By MadeIn Company), Lu Yang, Yangachi, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTIRES+Takuji Kogo

Curator: Ji Yoon Yang

Asia Culture Center (ACC) is pleased to announce the launch of its dynamic program on November 15th in Gwangju. As part of its inaugural program, ACC Creation will present Plastic Myths at Space 2 to examine the origins and future identities of Asias with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism in Korea and the Institute of Asian Cultural Development. How was the idea of Asia invented? For over two centuries, since the Industrial Revolution and the rise of capitalism, Asia has existed as the Western world’s “Other”—yet few similarities unite Asian identities besides geographic proximity. Each “Asia” has its own complexity of religions, folk beliefs, ethnic groups and social organization that set it apart from other “Asias.” Cultural divergence is a central characteristic of Asia, and ethnic categories given to Asia underscore such diversity. Plastic Myths gathers together these Asias, alongside the various myths of the invented idea that is Asia.

Myths express the long-held beliefs and ideas of a group of people as to the origins of nature and/or society while also revealing their present state. Plastic Myths, then, is an exploration of the myths of Asia “here and now” as well as of its “futures.” Regarding the myths that currently hold true collectively and individually: What specific worlds comprise these myths? The diverse live events designed to complement the exhibition take country, daily meals, love and dreams as their key concepts. These represent the specific myths of the here and now, which are increasingly being replaced by the myths of nation, capital, technology and the Internet. They are, in short, the original forms of myths in the making—that is, the myths of Asian futures, created in Asia, for the world.

Is an electronic copy of the millennia-old Tripitaka Koreana (Korean collection of 80,000 Buddhist scriptures), digitized into a CAD file and engraved by a multi-jointed robot arm into a plastic panel, considered performance art? Is a 3D-scanned and printed copy of a Cambodian artifact, presently in the collection of Asia Art Museum in Germany, considered a sculptural work of art in Korea? The powerful visual appeal of these works are beguiling, amplifying the oscillating boundaries of what may or may not be art. The exhibition also raises questions on the history of contemporary art exhibitions that have been all-inclusive in terms of what may be exhibited as art.

The exhibited works are tangential in their approach (if any) to purposeful social critique or an impeccable sense of the sublime. Atypical storytelling that goes against the grain, simplistic and trivial signifiers, preposterous forms, absurdly frivolous images are all given aesthetic value. This fresh aesthetic springs from a new awareness of a confusing, drifting reality. It gradually reveals a world beyond, the direction in which Asians are now heading, leaving in their wake those modern myths heavy with trauma and feelings of inferiority. Gazing long and quietly upon that threshold from which we are to depart—the exhibition space—is Mudeung Mountain. Mudeung means both “equal” (for there is no hierarchy) and “shaman” (mudang). Mindful of both senses of the word, the exhibition asks us to contemplate our identities and our places.

The exhibition space consists of thirty individual cells that are independent and simultaneously convergent. Here you will find neither the Asia objectified and lumped together by the other’s gaze, nor the insular, narrow-minded and ethnocentric Asia, but a collective assembly of many Asias and many strata of aesthetics that face head-on the contradictions inherent in Asian modernity. Plastic Myths is both a living organism of a plurality of contemporary Asian aesthetics, and a kaleidoscope of possible—Asian and therefore global—myths to come.