Irony & Idealism, 2018
Exhibition and book are organized around how South Korean and German artists reflect on their own history, culture, idioms, and sociality, but also the clichés that surround these phenomena and how their respective views on life are connected. Irony & Idealism questions the diverse possibilities for expression in an ostensibly global artistic language, grounded in the sense of a divided country—a divided nation—like Germany following 1945. The dichotomy between irony and idealism—dignity and mockery suggested in the title, lends the cultural exchange and dialogue between the different contributions a critical potential, especially for those South Korean artists who have studied in the United States, Europe, and Germany in particular. The exhibition Irony & Idealism thereby adresses the conflicts that arise within a global system from the loss of identity, cultural displacement, and enforced conformity. If togetherness is the precondition of a peaceful coexistence and capitalism and consumption stand in conflict with that, then what happens to the human need for autonomy, differentiation, and individuality? What happens to the diversity of cultures and traditions, a diversity of peoples? And if the other is the same as me, where could this "I" look to see something more than simply its own reflection? Who and what am I, and who and what is the other?