Open Site: Mixed Media Works by Korean Artist Tae Eun Ahn
2370 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
The Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C. proudly presents Open Site, the first U.S. solo exhibition of works by Korean artist Tae Eun Ahn, whose tactile and visceral art seeks to expand our perception of the world by examining the role of the body as a bridge between internal and external existence. Open Site features works in a variety of media that attempt to capture traces of the body in motion, including six videos and installations, six photographic works, four paintings, one sculpture created primarily out of clay, and a live performance by the artist herself.
This special exhibition is guest curated by Betsy Johnson, Assistant Curator at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. In Johnson’s words, Ahn’s artwork is a powerful meditation on the ephemeral nature of life, reflecting a hard-won understanding of the continual work that it requires of us. Ahn’s practice traverses the boundaries between inside/outside and self/other, always beginning and ending with the body, which she understands as the primary site through which we encounter the world. Envisioning life as an accumulation of movements—some made consciously, others unconsciously—Ahn performs simple gestures that are recorded in highly-responsive materials such as clay, plaster, and silicon. By fixing these actions in objects, she collects traces of her presence as a way to dispel her anxieties over the unpredictability of what lies ahead. In this way, Ahn has crafted an artistic practice that helps her embrace the continual process of building and rebuilding that characterizes existence.
The exhibition opening program will include a special performance by Ahn of an original work tailored to accompany the art exhibition. Titled You Walk Wrong, the performance explores how the body and its movement play a significant role in perception by investigating one of the most ordinary, daily actions: walking. The performance takes place on a balance beam covered in clay, as Ahn carries out the deceptively simple task of walking from one side to the other without falling.
Admission to the opening reception on Friday, July 12 at 6:00 p.m., which includes the artist talk and performance, is free and open to the public, but registration is required below. Open Site will remain on view during regular hours through August 7, 2019.
About the Artist
Tae Eun Ahn is a Korean visual artist who currently lives and works in Seoul. Ahn received her BFA and MA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design (USA) and the Royal College of Art (UK), and is currently enrolled in a Doctorate program in Sculpture at Seoul National University in Korea. Her works have been featured in various international exhibitions including Camden Art Centre and OXO Gallery in London, Galerie Métanoïa in Paris, Gallery Korea at the Korean Cultural Center in New York, Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi in Venice, and the Asian Cultural Center and Sejong Center Chamber Hall in Seoul. Ahn recently was awarded by the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of the Republic of Korea for the Gwanghwamoon International Art Festival 2019 and was invited to present her performance piece at the Gwangju Biennale 2018. In 2017, Ahn was selected as a recipient of the Anthology Award and the Khojaly Peace Prize.
About the Curator
Betsy Johnson joined the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden staff in January of 2016 and was appointed as assistant curator in March of 2018. Prior to joining the Hirshhorn, she worked for Glenstone from 2011 through 2015, where she guided the development of its visitor experience and education programs. She holds a BA in integrative arts and a MA in art history from the Pennsylvania State University. In addition to her work at the Hirshhorn, she has curated exhibitions across the region for institutions such as the Maryland Institute College of Art, Washington Project for the Arts, Arlington Arts Center, McLean Project for the Arts, Metro Micro Gallery, and the University of Maryland Art Gallery.