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Key takeaways

1. In conjunction with The Preview Seongsu 2023 art fair, the exhibition attempts with the same planning intention by exploring a narrative about 'flowers' that encompasses various symbols in language and images

2. Featuring works by ten Korean artists: Dan Kim, Jiyong Kim, Tae Kim, Hyojun Kim, Grim Park, Jonguk Park, Kyunglynn Chang, Seungkeun Jang, Seungwan Ha, and Kyumin Hwang

THEO presents the group exhibition Flowers from May 26 to June 30, 2023. The exhibition is held in conjunction with an art fair focused on the upcoming generation of artists The Preview Seongsu 2023, and features a variety of stories developed through the interpretation of each participating artist. The group of artists explore two poems/spaces of different nature, all centered around the same theme.

“We live together in ○○○.”

If a certain melody springs to mind while reading the phrase “flowers in a flower garden” mentioned in the exhibition title, you may be able to connect it to the subtitle of the above-mentioned text, and you might even be able to think of the song associated with the melody that came to mind. The phrase and lyrics used in the title and the subtitle of this article are the beginning of a nursery rhyme called 'Our Kindergarten[1],' which is usually introduced as '○○ Kindergarten' to foster a sense of belonging among the children attending the kindergarten.

The exhibition revolves around a simple concept: the works displayed within the exhibition space. While this fact may seem obvious, it holds both kindness and unkindness within its essence. Setting aside this ambivalence, if we closely examine the exhibition and the works in relation to the aforementioned concept, various stories behind their forms emerge.

More than being associated with any specific occasion, the word and symbol of 'flower' embodies the seasonal feeling of 'spring.' The melody and lyrics that came to mind, along with some music that was released at the right time, and the surrounding environment that changes in accordance with this temporality, all provide an opportunity to be aware of spatiality and contemplate the elements that constitute it.

The booth of The Preview Seongsu 2023 art fair, which has previously been attempted with the same planning intention, presents a narrative about 'flowers' that encompasses various symbols in language and images. It also delves into a narrative about the physical space represented by 'flower fields and flowers' and the elements that constitute them. The gallery and the curator interpret the 'flower garden,' which serves as the physical space to which the flowers belong, as the coziest place for the flowers. However, they also acknowledge the inevitable fate of the flowers—eventually withering, disappearing, or being overshadowed by their purpose. Building on this concept, they perceive the physical 'exhibition space' as a flower garden and consider the 'artworks' that compose and shape the exhibition space as flowers. While the gallery and curator introduced the project's intention in a kind manner, we can observe that the characteristics of the art fair tend to be limited to consumption and have a tendency to fade away in various senses.

What about the subsequent time/space of the 'exhibition,' where the purpose is relatively blurred? Adjacent to the artworks, there are messages from each participating artist, inspired by the motif of 'flower language.' The formal text on the accompanying cards gives rise to new questions and narratives that are as symbolic as they are evocative. Just like flowers in a flower garden, the works are simply situated within the exhibition space. The works in their distinct time/space exist autonomously, yet I invite you to appreciate the connections of 'form, belonging, relationship, element, and story' with the individuals and objects that encounter them.

- Chanyong Chong (THEO Assistant director)

[1] a Korean kindergarten nursery rhyme, most of us know the first line of the melody or lyrics, but rarely the whole song, and even more rarely the title.