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Had you visited Sora Kim's 2004 exhibition 'Elephant Island' you would have entered into a world composed of a series of alluring but mystifying constructions and aggregations of things.1
In the middle of a half-moon-shaped gallery lay a large white object consisting of a stack of ten progressively smaller platforms, all distinctly malformed circles resembling the diagrams of small islands or atolls on a map. On the top of this was a little yellow popcorn machine regularly spitting out snacks for un-wary visitors to the exhibition. Around this structure stood several irregular shaped, roundish columns built out of Styrofoam and plywood, which conjured up a little forest of dripstones and functioned as bookshelves. In the midst of all this, lit by a mishmash of retro-looking chandeliers, stood a table and some chairs. The walls and existing round columns in the space were painted in bands of deep hues - purple, lavender, mint green and so on. What was the organising concept or theme? The titles of the various parts - Volcano, Library and Paging - at first seemed to offer few clues.
All in all, this room-sized installation, with its natural forms and eclectic design vocabularies, created an immediately inviting, eye-catching environment - one that would not look out of place in a self-consciously outrageous photo-spread that you might find in Wallpaper* magazine. That this environment creatively seemed to appropriate some language of contemporary design, and that
The two-person exhibition with Gimhongsok entitled 'Antarctica' took place at Artsonje Center in Seoul in 2004. The following discussion of 'Elephant Island' greatly benefited from a thorough description in Eungie Joo's essay 'Escape to Elephant Island', in Sun-wong Kim (ed.), Elephant Island: Sora Kim (exh. cat.), Seoul: Artsonje Center, 2005, pp.132-35 ↑
This is the interpretative thesis forwarded by Sung-won Kim, the curator of the exhibition and author of the main catalogue essay. She argues that the project, 'an idea of a contemporary city', does not 'plan a city but instead "infers" an idea and suggests a tool for its activation.' Sun-wong Kim (ed.), op.cit., p.93 ↑
Eungie Joo also makes the same claim in her essay. ↑
Landscape was presented at the Gwangju Biennale 2002, and CHIS in 'Z. O. U.(Zone of Urgency)' at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. ↑
Andrea Fraser, 'How to Provide an Artistic Service: An Introduction', in Alexander Alberro (ed.), Museum Highlights: The Writings of Andrea Fraser, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005, p.153 ↑