Artists: Jeremy Blake, Che Go Eun, Yun Choi, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Michel Houellebecq, Will Benedict & Steffen Jørgensen, Kang Jungsuck, Mire Lee, Lynn Hershmann Leeson, Abu Bakarr Mansaray, Gerhard Nordström, Rolf Nowotny, Aniara Omann, Ovartaci, Artavazd Pelechian, Ali Akbar Sadeghi, Mark von Schlegell, Aphex Twin, Peter Wächtler, Magnus Wallin
Venue: Art Sonje Center, Seoul
Exhibition Title: iwillmedievalfutureyou1
Curated By: Jacob Fabricius
Date: September 18 – November 17, 2019
Full gallery of images, press release, and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Art Sonje Center, Seoul. Photos by Euirock Lee.
The cryptic title iwillmedievalfutureyou1 dissolves time, pointing back and ahead at the same time. The artists present absurd and dystopian depictions of our current era, and through these works the exhibition aims to reflect the primitive aspect of our present day and our potential future. The works portray journeys through time and place. The exhibition can be seen as an epic tale of the future, displaying our dreams, our fantasies and how they fracture, fissure and fuse.
–Jacob Fabricius, Imorgen, 2019
Art Sonje Center proudly presents iwillmedievalfutureyou1, the fourth exhibition in a series of ten non- chronological group shows that tell an epic tale about the future through fantastical, oddball and dystopian depictions of the times in which we live. Cannibalising on existing exhibition architecture, the layout and display change with each edition of iwillmedievalfutureyou as it mutates into a new configuration of works. iwillmedievalfutureyou1 includes works by 20 artists, half of whom are specially invited for the exhibition at Art Sonje Center.
The exhibition attempts to mirror primitive and disruptive elements in our present existence and potential future; each artist presents a distinct depiction of the human condition, the destruction of human realities or ‘nonhuman’ conditions, coalescing into restored hopes and the development of a post-human state.
In the exhibition, mankind’s interference with the natural world interlinks with technology’s impact on the human body. Mounted on a wallpaper of genetically manipulated plants and animals, Lynn Hershmann Leeson’s video, Seduction of a Cyborg, depicts a technology-induced breakdown of the human immune system. In Will Benedict and Steffen Jørgensen’s dark sitcom The Restaurant, the grocery-delivering, half-man-half-snail protagonist Snailien demonstrates the versatility of the natural world, while Mire Lee’s mechanical, human-cum-alien-like sculptures appear to be harbingers of a new post-human evolutionary state.
The primitive and the grotesque characterise another strand of works in which medievalesque imagery and fantasies surface. Chased by an immense wall of fire, appropriated drawings of disabled people by Hieronymus Bosch populate a nightmarish contemporary gladiator’s game in the animation, EXIT, by Magnus Wallin, and, in a work by Rolf Nowotny, enlarged, metal renditions of ancient woodlice have the hallmarks of crude, futuristic armour. Collaborating with members of a Medieval Renaissant Swordsmanship Association and a game designer, Yun Choi explores contemporary desires for the Middle Ages in Seoul. In the work of Ovartaci, drawings of fantastical, retro-futuristic machines and alien bodies testify to a desire to overcome the boundaries between species, genders and the natural world. Eroding boundaries also influence the work of Kang Jungsuck, where reality and the immersive virtual reality of the gaming space coalesce.
Seemingly ushering in a new dark age, the menacing exhibition title performatively suspends our conception of linear time by fusing past and future. Time traveling would appear to be inevitable, and jet lag to be expected, but are we about to encounter an old future or a new past? As futurologist Alvin Toffler has remarked, “The future always comes too fast and in the wrong order.”
Conceived and realised by Jacob Fabricius, iwillmedievalfutureyou is a series of exhibitions that will appear in ten different iterations throughout the course of 100 years. In 2016,
iwillmedievalfutureyou4 initiated the exhibition series at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde (DK). Later the same year, the second iteration, iwillmedievalfutureyou5, unfolded at Kunsthal Aarhus, which also hosted the third instalment, iwillmedievalfutureyou6, in 2018.
Since 2017, Art Sonje Center and Kunsthal Aarhus have collaborated on a number of projects and exhibitions. In addition to iwillmedievalfutureyou1 at Art Sonje Center, the collaboration also includes a solo exhibition by Hwayeon Nam at Kunsthal Aarhus opening in October 2019. Earlier this year, Art Sonje Center also collaborated with Kunsthal Aarhus, when Kunsthal Aarhus hosted the exhibition Water from Ganges River in the Cup Made with Newspaper from Congo by Kim Beom.