The Korean artistic duo Moon Kyungwon & Jeon Joonho will represent the Korea at the 56th International Art Exhibition in Venice with a new site-specific work.
The Ways of Folding Space & Flying, a new multi-channel film installation, explores an archaeological quest into human civilization that interweaves history with visions of the future as told through a future-retrospective narrative. The project also alludes to the institutional structure and historic evolution of the Venice Biennale itself, the scale and influence of which have been acquired within a shifting socio-political landscape.
The title of the project stems from the Korean words chukjibeop and bihaengsul. Chukjibeop means a hypothetical method of contracting physical distance and of allowing one to travel a substantial distance in a short space of time. Bihaengsul refers to another supernatural power, based on one of the oldest human desires, to levitate, fly and travel across time and space. In the history of Eastern culture, these ideas have been explored not only as means of meditative practice but also as methods to reach a state of complete emancipation of both mind and body from physical limitations and natural forces. They reflect the human desire to surpass the physical, despite the apparent absurdity of such imaginings. While some scientific theories and hypotheses have supported the possibility of realising such ideas, they remain largely in the realms of parable and fantasy, epitomising our intrinsic yearning to transform the world around us.
Moon and Jeon‘s previous projects focused on creating an interdisciplinary and transnational platform.
The artists continue their quest in The Ways of Folding Space & Flying, heading towards an unknown future that is at once an end and an origin. The project is part of an ongoing inquiry for Moon and Jeon to make sense of what they perceive as a fundamental function of art in the increasingly uncertain and precarious environment we are collectively facing. Instead of trying to provide a definitive thesis, the artists propose ways of imagining the future where existing notions of art and creativity may no longer be relevant. As with the seemingly illogical and ludicrous concepts of chukjibeop and bihaengsul, for them, art is a crucial yet curiously unexplainable facet of complex human desires that compel us to imagine, dream, wonder and challenge.
“Our project is not an attempt to define contemporary art. We aim to bring our project outside of the current boundaries of contemporary art and explore the possibilities that art could offer through a more expansive, interdisciplinary approach.”
- Kyungwon Moon & Joonho Jeon, The Ways of Folding Space & Flying, 2015. Installation view, Korean Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale