Palais de Tokyo

Memorial Park

21 Jun - 08 Sep 2013

Exhibition view
Photo : Aurélien Mole
21 June - 8 September 2013

A curator based in Seoul having previously worked in theater, Haeju Kim conceived this exhibition as a “Memorial Park,” a space in which different interventions, performances and artworks reawaken forgotten memories. Rather than creating a monumental exhibition, her intention is to construct a habitat for memory, through which the visitor can meander. Avoiding spectacular effects, the exhibition focuses its attention on emptiness rather than overabundance. Through often immaterial works, the memory of the everyday life, rather than of historic events, is presented in this exhibition.

A memorial park is a place built to commemorate the deaths caused by a natural or military disaster. This space of promenade acts as a naturally generated trace of what could have been a war or an earthquake, where the trees and the grass can be genuine substitutes for monuments, statues or tombstones. It is a space left vacant in order to regenerate memory. While, in general, a space is the grammatical object of the action “remembering”, it, here becomes its subject. Past events and stories are revived thanks to the movement that penetrates this space.

The exhibition “Memorial Park” offers a space and a promenade, which evoke memories to the visitor while raising a question about the relationship between space and memory. Somewhere in “Memorial Park” are stored unhistorical, ordinary, insignificant, unrecognizable and unrecorded memories. The artists consider them in their original condition of immaterial sense, without transforming them into a monument.

Much of the exhibition space is empty as if something was missing. The movement of the visitors, their steps, their eyes, and their breaths contributes to the whole. Far from a massive installation, simple devices without volume, and a few words and sentences are placed within the space. The exhibition in itself is a completed work and simultaneously functions as a clue, birthplace and score of the event. Just like stage directions, the devices within the space refer to something which is happening now, which will happen, or which already has happened. The space of the event extends from Palais de Tokyo to its nearby streets, in addition to the exhibition space.

In one of the performances, the actions which compose a typical exhibition process - such as measuring, placing, displacing, and circling - are transcribed into a score which will be repeated by the performers during the whole duration of the exhibition. Other events try to predict what is going on in the minds of the spectators; or what will be encountered in the future.

Haeju Kim (born in 1980 worked as an assistant curator at the Nam June Paik Art Center and as a researcher at the National Theater Company of Korea. She curated “The Whales, Time Diver” (2011, National Theater Company of Korea) and “Theater of Sand” (2011, Culture Station 284, Seoul). She has contributed to a number of Korean media and magazines such as Art in Culture and Article with articles on fine arts and performance. She completed the International Curatorial Training Program at the Ecole du Magasin in Grenoble, France (2007) and co-edited Harald Szeemann: Invididual Methodology (2007, JRP/Ringier).

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Sora Kim, Hwayeon Nam

Tags: Sora Kim, Nam June Paik, Harald Szeemann