“Mise-en-Scène: A History of Images” is an archival exhibition happening at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA). The three Korean artists Park Chankyong, Song Sanghee, and Im Heungsoon have dealt with the historical events and the major people behind those events that marked the contemporary history of Korea and East Asia, as well as the subject of others, desire and resistance, and charm and fracture. In their works, the staging of history has been attempted in a variety of ways: resisting the image of power imposed by authority; investing new meaning to habitually consumed old images; giving shape to what cannot be visualized even with images, or assigning relevance among different images. As such, this exhibition presents an opportunity to think about issues pertinent to “history” and the “image” by examining the relationship between image archives and art.
The term “mise-en-scène,” which refers to the creation of a certain scene, literally means to “bring on stage.” The relationship between the image archives-and-stage and these three works contains a paradox similar to that of a Mobius strip. That is because the artistic theme in which the three artists share a common interest is the relationship between history and image, that is, history as an image. In this sense, the image archives resonate with the theme of these artworks yet again. The image archives are presented after the artworks. However, given that the archives amount to images of history, to put it concretely, the archives are evidence of a certain historical point in time and space in which these three artists have chosen to intervene, the archives appear before the art. Thus, the title of this upcoming exhibition “Mise-en-Scène,” echoes the principle of forming this paradoxical space and stage of paradoxical images.
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