About the Exhibition

For the 59th Venice Biennale, transdisciplinary artist Yunchul Kim invites visitors to experience an alternate universe via a series of interconnected large-scale installations that challenge an anthropocentric understanding of the world. Curated by Young-chul Lee, Kim’s presentation is titled Gyre in reference to the idea of a vortex, or the constant gyration of material and energy within the universe. The exhibition includes seven installations focused on three themes: The Swollen Suns, The Path of Gods, and The Great Outdoors, which are powered by invisible matter to move in synchronicity as if a single breathing body.

As an artist whose practice spans literature, mythology, philosophy, and science, Kim is interested in the ways these fields are interconnected and the ways in which they may exist as a microcosm of larger systems—both seen and invisible—within the universe and the history of time.

Beginning with the source of life itself, The Swollen Suns imagines the dissolution of the sun and the birth of new planets that would emerge from its debris. For Kim, this eventuality offers a lens through which to view present reality. The Path of Gods, meanwhile, is a reference to the East Asian imaginary that understands the human body as a “divine pathway” where heaven and earth meet. Expanding beyond what can be felt or seen, The Great Outdoors examines the pieces of the world that exist beyond human perception.

The works within the Korean Pavilion are all connected to each other and the world beyond. Argos—The Swollen Suns (2022) is made of hundreds of glass tubes that flash when invisible muon particles are detected. The flashing then triggers the massive kinetic piece Chroma V (2022) to pulsate, its serpentine form linking the entire presentation together like the nervous system of a body. Kim’s La Poussière de Soleils (2022) marries natural and artificial material in an installation where light and color are constantly changing in relation to their own density while Impulse (2018) pumps Venetian seawater through tubes surrounding the sculpture, bringing the ocean itself into the pavilion. In the oldest work on view, Flare (2014), two transparent liquids are activated via the application of hydrophilic material to move as if they are dancing.

Created specifically for his Venice Biennale presentation, Kim’s Gyre drawing distills the technically complex sculptures and thinking within his practice at large into a work on paper where material and immaterial coexist without differentiation. Kim’s vision of a world where the hierarchies between matter and energy, past and present, physical and spiritual are dissolved transcends space, time, and even art itself.

About the Artist

Yunchul Kim (b. 1970, Seoul, South Korea) is an artist and an electronic music composer whose practice focuses on the artistic potential and the reality of matter through installation, drawings, writing, and music. Informed by his transdisciplinary research combining philosophy, chemistry, physics, mathematics, cosmology, anthropology, and mythology he considers the complex entanglement of beings between human, non-human, and things by examining the ‘world of materials’. He led the research group Mattereality at the Korea Institute for Advanced Study. He was a member of the artistic research project group Liquid Things at University of Applied Arts Vienna, and the art and science project team Fluid Skies. He is the winner of the 2016 Collide International Award at CERN, and has been awarded by VIDA 15.0, Arts Electronica, and Transmediale. In 2014, he founded Studio Locus Solus in Seoul. His recent presentations include Yokohama Triennale, Japan (2020); KUMU, Estonia (2020); National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan (2020); iMAL, Belgium (2020); CCCB, Spain (2019); and ZKM, Germany (2018).

Read more about the Korean Pavilion here.

About the Program

The Korean Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Hyundai Motor has been the main sponsor of the Korean Pavilion for four consecutive exhibitions, including the 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2022 Venice Biennale, reaffirming our ambition to connect more deeply with audiences from around the world and build on expanding exchanges. Founded in 1895, the Venice Biennale is one of the world’s most important international art exhibitions, taking place in national pavilions throughout the city and the Central Pavilion every two years. Since its inception in 1995, the Korean Pavilion continues to receive honorable mentions for presenting outstanding works by artists from Korea and broadening perspectives on Korean art across the global landscape.

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