National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art - Cheongju
26 / 05 / 2020 - 04 / 10 / 2020

“For conservator C, a workday begins with getting in the same room with a damaged work. Resembling a science lab at first glance, C’s workspace is where science overlaps with imagination. It is equipped with a variety of restoration tools and cutting-edge machinery.

Behind those walls, C inspects artwork with sharp, trained eyes and upon spotting an irregularity, C immediately starts the procedures to fix the issue. C’s day usually starts with concerns about the artworks and by the day’s end, C’s mind is occupied with new concerns about the issues that weren’t addressed that day.”

Like all things in this world, artworks are subject to change. So, the general life cycle model of all living things applies here too. A living thing is born, grows, declines, and dies. The artworks follow the same path except that with the help of a conservator they get a second chance at life. So for art, the cycle goes birth, growth, decline, and rebirth.

In contemporary art, this doesn’t just stop at giving an artwork some extra years on this Earth: it creates a whole new layer of meaning with regards to the issue of temporality. This exhibition puts the conservator at the center of focus. By following the footsteps of a fictional character, viewers will get to understand the profession of art conservation better.

To vividly showcase the restoration process, actual art pieces from the MMCA’s collection will be put on display next to the videos that show the step-by-step restoration processes instead of simplistic “before & after” image pairs. Moreover, the new works of participating artists, including Kim Jeesoo, Ryu Hankil, Jong-Duk Woo, Jungho Jung, and JaeBum Joo, will be featured in the exhibition.

Each artist took the topic of conservation science and has produced a new work for this show. A conservator engages in several different relations? artist relations, viewer relations, and relation to the work itself. All these relations were reflected in the exhibition and dispersed throughout the exhibition space. Crossing over the between the real and the fictional, viewers will be able to understand the diverse layers within the profession of art conservation better.