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The State of the House

Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the United Kingdom of Great Britain


Modernism rising from the early 20th century has developed the concept of ‘White Cube’ for the art exhibition space suitable for its type. Though this white cube played a significant and leading role as the exhibition space during the last century, it has faced several various challenges since the late 20th century, like the fate of modernism. For example, alternative exhibition spaces such as warehouse and plant area which are expanded by artists, caused by the change in the scale of artworks can be a representative example. Besides, prior exhibition spaces have been expanded to usual places associated with public communication such as subway, train stations, department stores, palaces, monuments, and private houses, which is not something unfamiliar to us anymore.

The exhibition The State of the House is planned on the purpose of the expansion in communication space. The house of Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, a 19th century Victorian building located in Kensington, London is the house of the ambassador, the representative of one country and at the same time a symbol of the State as an independent foreign government. In other words, this is a part of Korean located in the United Kingdom. The atmosphere of the house with the interior designed with 18th century French style sofas and English style antiques and Korean painting reveals the unfamiliar spaciousness though it looks familiar to European, Korean and anybody. Though an individual house, this is the space exhibiting the national norm of aesthetics. The title of this exhibition solves the meaning of various states and expressions this house has, with space ambiguity.

If ‘constraints’ can be an interesting background of creation for artists, this space with internal tension would be an attractive challenge for them. The state of house, an official residence of the ambassador becomes an important motif for works from political and diplomatic context to interior items. Some artists show especially ‘site specific work’ related to their work concepts.

What is also interesting for this exhibition is that all the participating artists were limited to women artists. ‘The House’ can be represented as a domestic place commonly around the world and we can infer that it could be different how to interpret this domestic place, depending on contemporary women artists from different culture. However, though culture difference causes different interpretation towards the place, we can find a certain thing in common in terms of women. This is because women artists are naturally absorbed in the exhibition space as their sensibility and critical mind become wrapped up with imagination and installed. The exhibition pursues harmony but also deals with disharmony. The dissonance as if it were a kind of harmony shows the place of sympathy constantly, making total images in harmonization.