Seminar I - Heeseung Choi
Curator's Attitude and Methodology 1 – Failed Exhibition Review
An exhibition is considered not a single result but multiple processes. Thus discussing the success or failure of an exhibition is the same as talking about the possible leaks or malfunctions of a specific part or aspect of an exhibition. Based on our standards and conditions, we talked about “failed” exhibitions and the reasons for that, asking about the process of creating exhibitions and the relationships forged during the process. Can an exhibition exist without the division of the main theme and sub themes or without hierarchy? Can local art form sustainable relationships instead of simply surviving? What are the conditions for holding an exhibition that does not use art as a tool? These diverse questions are about fundamentals.
– Miji Lee (DCW 2022)
After viewing an exhibition, I usually share my opinions with my colleagues. I tend to discuss positive aspects like the curator’s planning skills for a themed exhibition or the smart artist lineup.
I also mention the disappointing aspects. But just as we feel comfortable speaking our minds on big themes in the theory of art, when it comes to exhibitions hosted by national, public, and large-scale private galleries, I freely criticize the planning or philosophy of the works displayed as if the exhibitions were anonymous. On the other hand, I sometimes hesitate to comment on small-scale events or those held at alternative venues. At the first workshop, we defined what a failed exhibition is and focused on which aspects of an exhibition we saw were failures. Reviewing exhibitions is an everyday job for us, but talking about failure was an unfamiliar yet interesting task because we had never called one a failure before. Eventually, the process of analyzing and exchanging views on why an exhibition failed makes it possible to organize more meaningful and insightful exhibitions.
– Min Ah Lee (DCW 2022)
Before we can question the success or failure of an exhibition, we must set our own definitions and standards on the matter. This is especially true in today’s art scene, where curatorial work has been diversified, making it difficult to define the concept or form of exhibitions. Since exhibitions can be defined in a number of ways, one set of standards cannot determine success or failure. Despite this, we must present and find directions when curating or viewing an exhibition to assess what is present and missing in the direction and standards set by the exhibition. I consider an exhibition a site of action where the curator’s intentions and works maintain a tense relationship. Art becomes a form of text comprising an exhibition’s narrative, but we frequently see how curation itself functions like a text. In this case, art appears merely as a reference for the exhibition. I feel that the success of an exhibition depends on the tension between individual works and how their images create the structure of the exhibition, all within the curatorial framework. A failed exhibition does not argue over viewer standards and understanding or ask any questions.
– Minjoo Lee (DCW 2022)