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Decommissioned: Sook Kyung

Decommissioned: Sook-Kyung Lee

10 Feb 2016

Radical acts: Political consciousness in Asian art

This talk looks at diverse manifestations of political consciousness in Asian art, from direct critique and activism to non-participation and apparent disengagement as means of resistance. How can art transform the everyday functions of such sites as the city centre, the courtyard and the river bank into contested territories? Is it possible to interrogate charged sites such as decommissioned power stations and demilitarised zones through non-actions? How can the artist’s body become a site of interaction, challenge and resistance? The talk will also examine what makes repressive conditions and prohibitive environments catalysts for radical acts.

As Research Curator of Tate Research Centre: Asia-Pacific, Sook-Kyung Lee leads Tate’s research in modern and contemporary art of the region. She is also Curator of Tate’s Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee, an international art collection initiative. Lee was previously Exhibitions & Displays Curator at Tate Liverpool (2007-2012) and curated a number of exhibitions and displays including Doug Aitken – The Source (2012-13), Thresholds (2012-13) and Nam June Paik (2010-11). She has also curated Nam June Paik, a collection display at Tate Modern (2014-15), and served as the Commissioner and Curator of the Korean Pavilion for the 56th Venice Biennale (2015).

Lee has organised and participated in several symposia and conferences internationally, such as Dislocations: Remapping Art Histories (Tate Modern, 2015) and Trauma & Utopia: Interactions in postwar and contemporary art in Asia (Mori Art Museum, 2014). She has also written and lectured widely on modern and contemporary Asian art, focusing on East Asian avant-garde art practice and its aesthetics. Her publications include The Ways of Folding Space and Flying: MOON Kyungwon & JEON Joonho (exhibition catalogue, Korean Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 2015), ‘The Difficulties of Proper Names’, in Hossein Amirsadeghi (ed.), Korean Art: The Power of Now (TransGlobe Publishing with Thames & Hudson, London, 2013) and Nam June Paik (with Susanne Rennert, exhibition catalogue, Tate Publishing, 2010).

In a series of ten lectures, Decommissioned seeks to address how strategies of disavowal, inactivity and transition are employed in contemporary art and design. When encountering cultural bias, uncertainty and co-option across the arts, how can the dominant flows of information, language, policy and ideology be circumvented? Curators, sociologists, artists, politicians, academics, queer-thinkers, bio-designers, film-theorists and others will respond through diverse fields of exciting and critical research.    

This series is curated and convened by Dr. Stephen Wilson and is staged in collaboration with Chelsea College of Arts Postgraduate Community and the University of the Arts London, CCW Graduate School.

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