About Korea Tomorrow 2016

Kim Geum Hee (President of Korea Tomorrow)

Brexit, US presidential elections, IS and other religious extremist activities, the fourth industrial revolution, the human mind pitted against artificial intelligence, the world has never been such a hotbed of competing values. Korea is well within the influence of the political, economic, and cultural sphere of the global vortex. THAAD placement has significantly obfuscated the diplomatic dynamics of East Asia, all the while provocations from North Korea have long since exited the realm of acceptable reasonability.

How is the Korean art circle faring amidst this clamor? 2016 set off with a series of controversial forgery scandals, and more recently the ongoing political scandal where a cultural foundation was found to be inappropriately tied to the political arena. A sense of gloom has been dawning upon Korean society. Established in 2009 to provide an expanded platform for Korean art, and to provide a means for Korean artists to enter overseas markets, 2016 has been the most painfully contemplative laborious year yet for Korea Tomorrow. We discussed, shared, and even argued with curators, critics, and artists, putting our heads together in order to select an original theme and the most appropriate artists.

Korean monochrome paintings (dansaekhwa) have become recognized works internationally, gaining recognition among collectors outside Korea as a result of dedicated artists who encapsulated the Korean spirit on the decades they endured. The critics who built up the theoretical structures relevant to the style, and gallerists who spoke out equivocally in solidarity in the international scene. Dansaekhwa grasped the imagination of the international art scene, and moving onwards from that degree of attention will require a broader scope that draws from the strength of many more disciplines.

For the past 7 years, Korea Tomorrow exhibitions have testified to the endless possibilities and untapped potential of Korean artists and curators. Korea Tomorrow will contribute to recognizing emerging artists while also rediscovering and reinterpreting established artists, to carry on the passion to broaden the outer boundaries of Korean art. Korea Tomorrow supports and applauds the spirit of Korean artists who rejected the reactive and indiscriminate adoption of Western or global cultures; the fortitude of artists who have planted their feet firmly in their heritage, to cast into the international scene something never before seen.

New York based art writer and critic Eleanor Heartney once advised Korean artists on the task of ‘reaching the international stage’. Heartney once pointed out that “Korean artists are relatively timid when considering their vigorous curiosity.” They are too eager to learn from the West and seemed never to have considered teaching it anything. (…)Paik Nam June was great not only because of perfect technological applications, but because he introduced Eastern shamanism into the mix. Stepping up on the international stage is not just about learning from others, but about having a unique capacity that other can learn from.

New values are created by countless hours of communication between people from diverse disciplines. For those new values to be told as a coherent story, again many individuals need to participate from different fields and provide momentum for the story to become part of history. Korea Tomorrow now celebrates its eighth iteration. Thank you to all who helped, participated, and provided us forward moving momentum.

Yoon Jin Sup (Art Critic, Artistic Director of Changwon Sculpture Biennale 2016) – Jeong (靜)

‘Jeong-Jung-Dong’ literally means motion (Dong) in the middle (Jung) of stillness (Jeong), conjuring up a scene of serene surface with turbulent stirring of water underneath. Jeong (stillness) brings to mind an image of quiet surface and, in case of modern fine art, the monochrome. The artists who immersed themselves into learning the media, form and structures of the painting and the sculpture belong under this category as well. Their works and activities might seem quiet and calm, but inside their stillness is filled with intense creativity and clear foresight.

Graduated from Hongik University with his bachelors in Western painting and Masters in Aesthetics, Yoon also acquired doctorate in Philosophy from University of Western Sidney in Australia. Yoon has curated more than 70 domestic and international exhibitions. His past positions include curator for the 1st and the 3rd Gwangju biennale special exhibition, commissioner for the 50th Sao Paulo art biennial, general artistic director for the 3rd International Media Biennale of Seoul, committee head-cum-general artistic director for the 1st Pocheon Asian art festival, president for the Korean Association of Art Critics, vice president for (AICA) and others. He is currently serving as the general director of Changwon Sculpture Biennale.

Li Kenshu (Former Chief Editor of Monthly Art Magazine in Korea and adjunct professor at Kyung Hee University) – Jung (中) 

The concept of the middle (中) signifies the in-between of tradition and innovation, pause and movement, existence and production. Those in this category seeks to convey the warm artisan touch or the deft handiwork of the artist, idiosyncratic experiences or even ascetic practices in the exhibition, chosen over cold communication of stand-offish concepts not many would enjoy; it returns to the question of why we create art. It is the path of the brush, its stillness and movement that has become the trajectory of thought. The paintings embody the thoughts of the brush.

Acquired his bachelors from Korea University in Russian language and literature and masters from Seoul National University in Aesthetics, Li taught art philosophy and theory at various universities (1994-2012) and held adjunct professorship at Kyung Hee University (2005). Since 1997, Li started working as head editor in magazine in Korea, and served as editor-in-chief from 1999 to 2013. His curated exhibitions include (2002, Kumho Museum), (2003, Posco Art Museum), (2008, COEX), (2009, Gana Art Center), (2012, LIG Art Center) (2014, Busan Biennale) and various others. His authored books include (2002), (2010) and (2011).


The Korean economy, having gone through exponential growth, was once described by an economist as having speed founded upon accuracy; goal-orientedness accompanied by diligence; and globalized creativity based on imitation. Korea experienced a globally unprecedented level of growth in the past. It continues to rapidly evolve in the wave of globalization. Faced with these social experiences and demands, the artists are creating new differentiated dynamism.

As Korea’s first-generation alternative exhibition space, Alternative Space LOOP has undertaken various activities to foster fine-art culture, since opening its doors in 1999 in Hongdae amidst new, experimental trends in contemporary art in Korea. LOOP has not only sought to discover and support budding artists who are talented and experimental, staying true to the role as an alternative exhibition space, but also introduce experimental trends in global contemporary art by engaging in networking and diverse exchanges within and beyond the Korean art scene since early on. Recognizing development of alternative fine-art culture in Asia as a challenge and its goal, LOOP has continued to identify areas of improvement and address them.