Re-Collecting Now presents the work of 5 artists (Nalini Malani, Sigmar Polke, Soun-Gui Kim, Subodh Gupta, and Gyutae Hwang) whose works reflect an approach that characterises the radically changed cultural and societal moment today: they refuse to allow us to define or calculate our time and the memory created. This attitude and process of re-imagining the contemporary based on the artists' personal experience of now have been the core aesthetics of them—through style, content, medium, the time from which it comes. This profligate mixing of traditional styles and genres can be identified as a hallmark in contemporary art, with artists achieving it by re-manifesting historical analogies or recreating and sampling motifs from across the timeline of history.
Nalini Malani (b.1946) is India's Grand Dame of the experimental arts who has been acclaimed for her unique interpretation of a woman's historical vision. Malani has been conferred many international awards, the latest is the Joan Miró Award in 2019. She is scheduled to open solo exhibitions at international institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2021) and the National Gallery, London (2023). Malani has built an impressive body of work over fifty years which have been acquired by more than thirty museums including the MoMA, Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern, and M+ Museum. With her Wall Drawings/Erasure Performances, Video/Shadow Plays, and Animation Chambers, she confronts the viewers through complex, immersive and cinematic experiences.
Stories Retold: Mapping III (2008) is a reverse painting work created by one of India's foremost important female artist, Nalini Malani. Acclaimed for her unique interpretation of woman's narrative, this work highlights the artist's attempt in retelling myths and allegories from the past through her own vision. Inspired by old reverse glass painting tradition that came to India from China, this painting signifies different perspectives and stories superimposed and juxtaposed in creating a new anecdote. Drawn with mythical figures and animals, Stories Retold series features characters from Alice in Wonderland and Medea, representing fragmented stories about female told throughout the history.
Sigmar Polke (1941–2010) is one of the most important artists in the postwar generation. Both painter and photographer, he worked in a wide range of styles and materials, addressing diverse issue of subjects and his perception of them, including the sociopolitical surroundings during his years in Germany and his immigration to Poland near the end of World War II. From the 1970s, he was particularly interested in photography which influence him to work with off-the-wall materials ranging from dust to bubble wrap, soot and even uranium all in resisting easy categorisation of his complex oeuvre.
Vollmond im Widder (2004) is Sigmar Polke's lithography work consisting of 40 prints. Translated in English as 'Full Moon in Aries' and images containing his unique humor and irony. Containing drawings of socks, sausages or cut out images of travel brochures over brightly colored surfaces reference the root of Polke's exceptional grasp of searching experiment, freely with the conventions of art and art history. This late work by the artist especially highlight his avoidance of any one signature style or medium, that connects to his philosophical background of skepticism of all social, political and artistic traditions.
Subodh GUPTA was born in 1964, Khagual, Bihar, the seat of Buddhist learning. He studied at the College of Art, Patna (1983–1988) before moving to New Delhi where he currently lives and works. Trained as a painter, he went on to experiment with a variety of media. His work has stood out in major international biennials and has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions across Asia, Europe and America, illustrating his long exploration of the issue in cultural translation and dislocation. His ability to transcend cultural and economic boundaries has led to numerous international institution's collections, including Tate Britain, London, UK; Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA; National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India; MMK Museum Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt, Germany; Sara Hilden Art Museum, Tampere, Finland; Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, India; François Pinault's Foundation, Venice, Italy; and ARARIO Collection, Cheonan, Korea.
Subodh Gupta is most well-known for his large scale installation, particularly highlighted at his solo exhibition of ADDA/RENDEZ-VOUS at Monnaie de Paris in 2018. He especially works with the everyday objects used in the South Asian culture and India, illustrating the complex cultural and geopolitical issues in the region. Nevertheless of his experimentation on diverse artistic medium, Gupta is originally trained as a painter graduating BFA of Painting at the College of Arts & Crafts, Patna, India in 1988. His paintings have been introduced mostly in still-life objects, but for the FIAC OVR, Arario Gallery has selected a recent and unique abstract style of a floral painting. In the centre of the painting, there is a flower-like creature, seemingly orbiting and moving. The dynamic yet surrealistic style of colour arrangement and figurative language produces breathtaking ability of the artist in creating the idea of 'transformation'. Like Gupta's other installation or sculptures, this work investigate the sustaining and even transformational power of the everyday
Compared to traditional characteristics of photography, Hwang's 'Pixel' series does not focus on the 'recording' process of a camera. Instead he harbours on 'choice' and 'magnification' of the image it produces. In order words, his works move away from the traditional conventional process of capturing a photographic image of an object to film strip, but rather focus on discovering a variety of pixels in different forms and colours as they appear. Hwang describes his 'Piexel' series as 'the images that are shown in the photographs are not important, but the pixels within. Then, the photography is to be understood in a larger context of "image studies" than seen through the narrow lens of formal history.' His interest on the basic concept of photography also stems from his experience with photojournalism working at Kyunghyang Newspaper and in the United States in the 1970s.
Hwang (b.1938) graduated from Dongguk University as a political science major, worked as a photographer for Kyunghyang Newspaper from 1984 to 1992. Based on his socially critical view and sharp sense in different technologies used for photography, he has participated at various renowned institutions in Korea and Japan including Kumho Art Museum; Art Sonje Center; the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), Seoul; and Museum of Art, Japan. His works are collected at a number of national and private institutions, such as the MMCA and Contemporary Art and Museum of Photography in Seoul.
Gyutae Hwang is one of the groundbreaking first-generation photographers in Korea. His interest in digital images in the 1980s led to new movement in Korea, including techniques using digital montage and collages. Through an extended cycle of experimentation, he now focuses on the concept of 'pixels'—the base unit of images in all form consisting of dots. This artwork Color Dots selected for FIAC OVR highlights infinite possibility and visual potential of geometric figuration of 'pixel' and the aesthetic that is the foundation of digital image. This artwork has been collected by the MMCA and has been exhibited in his retrospective exhibition at Seoul Museum of Art.
Soun-Gui Kim (b.1946) is a multimedia artist, one of the pioneers in multidisciplinary art. She has been living and working in France since 1971, actively teaching, creating, and establishing her career for the last 50 years. She recently held a large-scale retrospective exhibition, Lazy Clouds, at the MMCA in 2019 and, in 2021, is scheduled to hold a solo show at ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany and participate in a group exhibition at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, curated by Mami Kataoka.
Kim, during the 1970s, actively exchanged influences with experimental artists during the time, including John Cage and Namjune Paik. In today's terms she was a pioneer of interdisciplinary art and performance, in which various art disciplines converge, and this led her to pursue ephemerality in performance such as those of the Fluxus movement. Her experimentation with photography is another critical example of Kim's interest in various medium. It can be highlighted with the art festival organised by Kim. In 1986, Kim invited her friends to participate in an art festival she organised. Under the title Video and Multimedia: Soun-Gui Kim and Her Invitees, Kim invited her artist colleagues from various countries—including John Cage, Namjune Paik, Daniel Charles, Ko Nakajima, Ira Schneider, Davison Gigliotti—to take part in performances, exhibitions, poetry readings, discussions, and gatherings.
Soun-Gui Kim's One Stroke of Painting is a two channel video work produced while filming her practice of Korean traditional archery, 'Kuk-goong'. As one of Kim's major series, Painting of One Brush of Stroke (Il-Hua), are created during her early years working in France. A shot of arrow signifies 'one brush of a stroke (il-pil),' leading a chaos to an infinitely open attitude, the creative impulses freely crossing the boundary between the East and West. As one of the pioneers in Korean experimental art, she has been fluently crossing over diverse genres, including painting, photography, performance, and video. For Kim, blurring boundaries between Eastern and Western philosophies are portrayed in her 'one brush of stroke'. According to the artist, it symbolises 'the beginning, the basis of everything. It has the meaning of 'chaos,' meaning an infinitely open attitude.' Through this we may catch a glimpse of Kim's way of thinking in seeking an infinite openness beyond boundary, limit and prejudice. A single shot of an arrow, a single stroke of a brush is the essence of the world and art as a whole.