Stimulation : A Talk with Hyun See-won, an Independent Art CuratorTheArtro have prepared for a new section with interview relays, in order to learn the activities and the aspects of the art people. These interview relays are flowineg connected from people to people, Jung Yong-guk --> Lee Dae-bum --> Hyun See-won, and the role of the interviewer and the interviewee switches by succeeding one another. This comer should select interview targets taking any presumable situations of the following interviews into account.
For the following figure will be chosen according to the previous interviewee’s personal connections and interests in art world, the next interviewee is completely out of our anticipation. Let’s catch up the genuine conversations among the interviewers and interviewees in their close associations.
Hyun See-won (as ‘Hyun’ below): I haven’t organized many art exhibitions so far, and thus cringe, to say frankly, to get interviewed as a curator. In a recent interview, I found it difficult to answer simply to a question about the ‘alternative’ or ‘future’ of an independent art curator’s activities.
Hyun: Yes, I agree. It looks questionable even if a 'new' space with an advocacy of alternative.
Hyun: In case of the [Walking Magazine] initially published in 2006, during my college life with my friends, I did not feel much burdened with the sense of responsibility. In the meantime, each of our stances was different. Even though it was not a big project, I thought that the [Walking Magazine] could have become an art exhibition at that time. We shared a lot of opinions while working on it; my two friends mentioned the [Walking Magazine] as a sort of hobby, not a profession. It has never been a pastime for me because the [Walking Magazine] was a paperwork on which I have published the art works of the artists I like. I considered the Walking Magazine as a ‘blank paper’ to open an art exhibition out of the existing system of art world. Another important point is that it provided me a great freedom and stimulation that I could write articles. The three members of the [Walking Magazine] became impetus and touchstone one another while we share our ideas and proof read the writings of each member.
Hyun: I really loved the works of the artists who participated in the [Walking Magazine]. They proceeded new works for the [Walking Magazine]’s pages during the short time allowed to them. I think this process was a precious project for me in this reason. But a friend of mine, who worked for the magazine with me, threw a question whether we worked only with the alumni of our university. This matter came out of the surface through an exhibition of the year 2008. Another problem appeared that the half interest by an art exhibition was lost in the process of bringing the works intactly from the magazine; a new format was needed to organize an exhibition. Resultantly, I could not find such an excitement at the《Walking Magazine Walks》exhibition as what we enjoyed while making the magazines on the paper form.
Hyun: For now, most of all, the word ‘friend’ looks inadequate. Those who walk with are irreplaceable beings to me. I believe that they own a lot for me to learn. I learn the working process and the attitudes on life from them. Probably, they are close but scary people. They are those who should criticize more sharply. I recall that I once thought and wrote on a note not to make exhibitions with friendship or ones like a party with friends. Now I believe that there coexist strength and weakness to organize an exhibition with my acquaintances, though.
Hyun: Well, in a certain point of view, I do not seem to have many friends. My personality makes me concentrate on a single person at a time. If I possess a driving force, it might be that I always run to what is curious. In case of Ju Jaewhan, I was charmed by his personality but, more fundamentally, I have kept him in my mind since I wanted to make an exhibition about ‘laughter.’ Nevertheless, not all artists commune with me even though I have curiosity and question them. There are often some artists standing parallel with me at a certain moment. In case of Ju Jaewhan, he persistently inspires me. Numerous artists still remain curious to me.
Hyun: In the early winter in 2010, I used to go to swim and yoga early in the morning. The articles in 『the Design: Opposite Poles』are written with what I saw while walking in the morning at that time. It was like a world in Shin Sinae’s song, “Sesangeun Yojigyung (The World is So Strange).” The world looked so burden when seen from a distance. All the things seen while I was walking looked so fresh. What astonishes me in another way is that, at the present time in 2012, I became to reach a point where I’m simultaneously interested but lost interests in the tiny things I saw at that time. I do not seem to have much affections on objects, but be whimsical. Some objects came up to me all at once like in a scene of a movie: such as exit sign, the fluorescent-colored uniforms of street cleaners, a red mailbox, and so on. So I decided in those days, “I need to know them right now.”
Hyun: That’s correct. I still have to learn more about the ‘design.’ My interest was ‘opposite poles’ as a matter of fact. I am persistently interested in ‘vs’ even until now. I feel interested in a symmetrical structure, in other words, a circulation in which oneself becomes the other and the real becomes false. To shift positions is truly a classical topic, but I am interested in a twofold, opposing world, and the things deriving from it.
Hyun: In those days, I wanted to share with people by letting them know an old painter whose name is Cho Sunglin whom I met at the second floor of the Cheonsu Mart across the Art Sonje. Moreover, numerous thoughts popped up in my head like a question how it would have looked like when the exhibition became staged in real. I enjoyed a sort of chemical responses through the co-works with exhibition commentators, Park Gil-jong and Whang Ho-gyung. During the exhibitions held twice in 2011 and in 2012, every member seemed to have wandered in their roles. Whang Ho-gyung changed a role from a docent to an actor for the performance, whereas I reached an ambivalent status as a project planner but not a planner at the same time. The artist Park Gil-jong also seemed quite changed in various aspects to see his added devices in 2012; he equipped only for the paintings of Cho Sung-lin in 2011. Now I am preparing for the publication of a small book about the Cheonsu Mart 2nd Floor, but hesitate to embark daringly on it. I think that Cho Sunglin’s ‘paintings’ as a strong image should hold the central place in it.
Hyun: This can be a different story, but contemplating on what writing means to me, there is a moment among many stages that writing gives me a pleasure. I take pains with which viewpoints of the works of artists I should write. It is too difficult to write an article finely with my own viewpoints. As an art curator, I intend to write articles after observing the works in a close distance. If there exists a merit of writing as a curator, it would be a playful ‘composition’ to arrange the contents here and there in an article.
Hyun: In the level of writing articles, I wish to meet with artists and write closely about their art pieces. I have had questions while meeting with these artists and writing on them. These questions sometimes become isolated after I organize exhibitions or write articles in seeking for the answers. Now I wish it stops. I really hope to think over and over again about the art works of the artists whom I wrote about or organized for exhibitions last summer.
Hyun: I am thinking about various subjects that I wish to bring in art exhibitions. But right now, I haven’t found an inevitable reason to solve them with some works of few artists. If there’s no limit in choosing art works as well as in time and space, I could reorganize those subjects interestingly. It would be nice if diverse art works and visual images from various periods are gathered in a single place. But an exhibition to show some corresponding works from a small number of artists under a certain subject would not be interesting even to these artists.
Hyun: I am full of curiosity because I still do not know much. So I intend to focus on watching here and now.
Born in 1974 in Seoul, Lee Daebum is currently working as an art critic and independent curator while exchanging with diverse people through ‘roundabout’. ‘roundabout’ is a social project whose outcomes have been the publications of Annotations Without Texts((2010) and 30 Minutes(2012) and the exhibition entitled 강동주: 정전(2012 at 256 Nooha-dong, Jongro-gu, Seoul). Currently, he is conceiving a new project regarding the films in which actor Seong-ki Ahn has taken part. He co-wrote Beyond the Political: The Three Decade of The Hyunsil and Baleon (Hyunsilbook).