New York 1993 – Seoul 2023: ‘Oh, Shyness’ Exhibition Reunited 30 Years Later
New York and Seoul, and 30 years. What about the exhibition that runs across time and space? An exhibition is currently being held in Seoul to explore this. It started in 1993. From September to November of that year, interesting exhibitions were held at three galleries in New York. One of the important points is that the wrong spaces, not the existing exhibition spaces, were used to show the artwork. The spaces were the downstairs of Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, the back room of Thread Waxing Space Gallery, and the stack room of Sandra Gering Gallery. The exhibition was called ‘Oh, Shyness.’ Four artists who worked in New York at the time (Eran Schaerf, Siobhan Liddell, Luca Buvoli, and Beom Kim) defined keeping a careful distance from the world as ‘Shyness.’ And accordingly, these spaces were selected as exhibition areas.
The exhibition was recently transformed 30 years later in Seoul. Artists who gathered again after about 30 years went on display under the same exhibition title at the Buk-Seoul Museum of Art. In particular, the show utilizes the idle space inside and outside the Buk Seoul Museum of Art by invoking the spirit of the 1993 ‘Oh, Shyness’ exhibition. The current show has a total of 25 works meeting visitors at the underground parking lot, the outdoor terrace attached to the second floor, and the first and second floors of the art museum. Organizers are making exhibition maps in Korean and English to help ease viewing.
Of course, the preparation process for the exhibition was not easy. This is because the artists were physically separated from each other. Artist Beom Kim frequently visited the museum and filmed throughout the museum. Other overseas artists checked the video and selected works suitable for the exhibition planning and space. They then visited Korea to install their works. Yoo Min-kyoung, curator at the Buk-Seoul Museum of Art, said, “The artists kept the spirit of planning in 1993,” adding, “The artists all worked very happily recalling the past.”
There is one work that stands out. Luca Buvoli’s work Almost… – Inner Outer Space #1, which was installed inside a locker, used the 33rd out of 68 lockers. The work can be seen through a small window. In this locker, there is a piece of clay that expresses the scene where the main character of the animation Welcome to Covid Ville almost fell into a vortex while escaping from infectious diseases and environmental pollution. Of the main character’s two arms, the arm on the window side of the locker is more than twice as thick as the arm on the back because of perspective. Thanks to this, the inside of the locker seems to continue to transform beyond the locker into a larger space.
The works on display from 1993 are also notable. The Period Room, specially prepared for this project, displays Luca Buvoli’s Not-a-Superhero, which was introduced in New York in 1993. In addition, Beom Kim’s Untitled (Door Knock #3) is a door with a speaker and is reproduced in the same shape as the 1993 exhibition. This work makes a knock on the door through the built-in speaker.
In addition, visitors can also see a documentary video of Beom Kim’s 1993 New York exhibition and an exhibition booklet from that time. The organizers said, “Thirty years have passed, but it is an opportunity to look at how the shyness attitude, which was common in the work of four artists, has continued and changed.” The response to the project has been positive. Oh So-yeon, an official at the Buk-Seoul Museum of Art, said, “Visitors can freely enjoy the work throughout the large art museum, away from the existing white cube viewing method,” adding, “Thanks to this, they can focus on the work itself while feeling the joy of ‘finding the work’ and the response from young people is especially good. I often hear that ‘the work is placed shyly,’ which shows that the audience understood the work properly.”
“Although spectacular and colorful works easily attract attention, this exhibition confirmed that simple and soft works can resonate with visitors,” said Yoo, a curator. The exhibition runs through January 29, 2023.
More information on the ‘Oh, Shyness’ exhibition can be found on the website.
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