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Korean Pavilion presents 4 key projects serving as nation-building propaganda in Venice Biennale

Italy - Jun 5, 2018 - 02:10   3027 views

The Korean Pavilion presents the "Spectres of the State Avant-garde" at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, exploring an archive of four key state projects developed by the government-established Korea Engineering Consultants Corporation (KECC). 

The Pavilion focuses on Korea’s industrialization and modernization of the 1960s; and seven contemporary interpretations of those projects by young Korean artists and architects. Together, the archive and its reimagining form an atmospheric installation addressing the KECC’s legacy and its influence on modern day Korean society.

Korean Pavilion, 2018. Image © Kyoungtae Kim

"KECC enjoyed an unparalleled dominance over Korea’s architecture and construction industry, and the breadth of its activities reached beyond civil engineering and infrastructural projects to include urban master plans and expo pavilions," read the statement of the Pavilion.

Image © World Architecture Community

"The exhibition presents an archive of four projects by KECC from the late 1960s, all of which served as nation-building propaganda: The Expo Pavilion for Osaka Expo 1970 was a venue for showcasing Korea as a nation-state on the world stage; the utopian master plan for Yeouido symbolized the brilliant future promised by the economic development plans; the Sewoon Arcades heralded the wave of urban renewal projects, and the Guro Industrial Exposition signaled the beginning of a new era of affluence." 

Image © World Architecture Community

The first two projects were symbolic gestures for announcing the trajectory of the new nation-state, whereas the other two projects were evidence for the imminent realization of economic prosperity.

Korean Pavilion, 2018. Image © Kyoungtae Kim

Three special commissions include a documentary film Fantastic City by artist Hyun Suk Seo, an installation, Reference Points, by photographer Kyeongtae Kim, and a new fiction work, Light from Anywhere, by writer Jidon Jung. Fantastic City examines the role and vision of KECC through the testimonies of people whose lives were affected by the consultancy. 

Reference Points is an installation of new "architectural images" representing KECC’s four projects—Sewoon Sannga, Yeouido, Expo ’70, and the Guro Trade Fair. 

Korean Pavilion, 2018. Image © Kyoungtae Kim

The warped, merged images are joined together according to their fragmented shapes, stitching the disjointed history into a composite
whole. Light from Anywhere is based on the story of Taesoon Jung, who worked as a guide for the Korean Pavilion at the Expo ’70 in Osaka.

Korean Pavilion, 2018. Image © Kyoungtae Kim

Four architectural projects re-imagine KECC’s developments to inform the future of Korean architecture. City of Radical Shift by architect Sungwoo Kim of N.E.E.D. Architecture projects into the future of the area surrounding the KECC's Sewoon Arcades, creating an urban plan that incorporates past, present and future buildings with a view to the social and cultural perspective of residents in the city. 

Korean Pavilion, 2018. Image © Kyoungtae Kim

Image © World Architecture Community

Image © World Architecture Community

Korean Pavilion, 2018. Image © Kyoungtae Kim

Dream Cells by Jinhong Jeon and Yunhee Choi of BARE proposes a visionary urban model based on the understanding of architecture as a socio-economic process of dream production. 

Korean Pavilion, 2018. Image © Kyoungtae Kim

Autopsy of the Future by architect Choon Choi is an installation that collects forgotten stories and utopian dreams for Yeouido, as a collective social and aesthetic experiment. It is accompanied by a graphic novel in the catalogue exploring the layers of history on which the city is built. Building States by Hyun Seok Kang and Gunho Kim of SGHS is an installation inspired by the 1970 Osaka pavilion. 

Korean Pavilion, 2018. Image © Kyoungtae Kim

Korean Pavilion, 2018. Image © Kyoungtae Kim

Korean Pavilion, 2018. Image © Kyoungtae Kim

Balancing the propaganda of the state with the visionary architecture of the creatives involved, SGHS present an installation that occupies a liminal space between built and imagined structures – transforming the exterior environment of the Korean Pavilion into a space for reflection and reimagining the autocratic architecture of the past.

The 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara under the title of Freespace, will be on view from May 26th to November 25th, 2018 in the Giardini and the Arsenale, and around other venues in Venice.

Exhibition Credit

Commissioner: Arts Council Korea

Exhibitors: Choon Choi; Hyun Seok Kang, Gunho Kim (SGHS); Hyun-Suk Seo; Jidon Jung; Jinhong Jeon, Yunhee Choi (BARE); Kyoungtae Kim (EH); Sungwoo Kim (N.E.E.D. Architecture)

Curatorial Team: Seongtae Park (Curator); Choon Choi, Junghyun Park, Dahyoung Chung (Co-curators); Heejung Kim (Associate Curator); Sungkyu Jung (Assistant Curator); Yongju Kim (Scenographer); studio fnt (Graphic Designers); Sangho Kim, Jane Misun Shim (Editors)

Top image © World Architecture Community

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