By the end of the 20th century Asia had started to become a significant economic and technological modern power. A tension developed between tradition and modernity, between high art and low art, between what might be seen as art which aspires to improve us and art which is just having fun.
Alison visits Choi Jeong-hwa’s house, where he shows her a number of his artworks and explains how he combines traditional colour with contemporary materials. His most famous works being his large plastic flowers.
Another artist, Kimsooja, is also inspired by traditional use of fabric, and she creates installations and video works using the old materials.
Finally, Alison wraps up the series, and reminds us that we can now look at artworks from Asia with a better understanding of what the artist is saying.
Interviewees in this episode
Choi Jeong-hwa – South Korea
Choi Jeong-hwa was born in Seoul, Korea, in 1961, where he still lives though maintaining a very busy international art practice. He has shown work around the world, from Sao Paolo to Shanghai, from Vienna to Bangkok, London to Tokyo, as well as in Melbourne, and at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1999 (over-life-size policemen) and Sydney Biennale in 2010 (plastic buckets at the Opera House). He makes inventive, witty, humorous installations about the nature of art that often include plastic everyday objects, placed together in a way to delight and confront viewers about what is beautiful, and what is meaningful.
Experimentation Topic 1
Takashi Murakami talks about flattening high and low art in his work to create ‘superflat’ art.
Create a t-shirt design, or design for a pop culture item where you flatten high and low art.
Discussion Topic 2
What does Choi Jeong-hwa mean when he says “I am a jjambbong of Asia, a jjambbong of the universe”?
Experimentation Topic 3
Choi Jeong-hwa shows how he uses the Obangsaek system of colours in his work and Kimsooja makes use of traditional cloth and bedspreads to create her moving images. Both talk about the past being potent for today. They talk about how an object can contain memories.
Create a new work that uses found objects from your own culture. What aspects of your culture have you used: colour, design, traditional use? How have you transformed them into a new artwork?
Nam June Paik