Sleepers in Venice
The Purgatory of Desires
Calle del Carbon, San Marco 4179, Venice, Italy / 8 May 2015 – 7 June 2015
ISKAI Contemporary Art is delighted to present, Sleepers in Venice, an exhibition featuring
commissioned works by eight Korean artists, joined by guest British artist Mark Wallinger.
This exhibition questions the enduring allure of the Venice Biennale. Does the Venice Biennale
offer artists opportunities to develop their work or is it a place of magic where artists and
visitors alike are seduced by fleeting beauty, falling into a sleepy trance like Thomas Mann’s
famous character, Gustav von Aschenbach from Death in Venice. Can the Biennale deliver critical
thinking about art and the artworld or is it an opiate?
Artists were asked to interpret Mark Wallinger’s work Sleeper (2004). A film shows the artist
dressed in a bear suit wandering alone as if in a daze, around the Neue Nationalgalerie in
Berlin. He stayed in this location for ten nights. The bear is the emblem of Berlin and his whole
masquerade alludes to the city, once at the epicentre of the Cold War where spies could blend
into their surroundings by sporting disguises. Sleepers in Venice aims to explore the notion of
masquerade in an altered context. What mask do you choose to wear? Which disguise will you
assume during your visit?
Wallinger’s film, not seen in Venice since 2005, is an inspirational example of the creative
tensions and struggles an artist faces. Sleeper highlights how an artist’s creativity can as easily
become a pavilion of dreams, as it can become a cage. The Korean artists have responded in
equally distinctive ways to the danger of falling under a sleepy spell; they fight back by
prodding, poking and re-working the fabric of art practice, questioning how art is made, seen
Jia Chang, recently shortlisted for Artist of the Year at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea,
has made a special pair of curtains that reference the human body and social taboos. Chang’s
works will be visible from the vantage point of the Grand Canal, hung in the window of the
gallery overlooking the Rialto Bridge.
Hyunjoon E is a sound producer, and an installation artist. His large expressionistic installations
are filled with objects reflecting his own possessiveness and desire to hold on to material things.
Deokyeoung Gim, resident artist at Bethanien, Berlin, asks questions about national pavilions:
staying up throughout the private view nights, pavilion by pavilion, Gim collects discarded
rubbish and makes works from it.
Eemyun Kang’s paintings weave energetic and fluid brushstrokes with formal constraints and
organic structures. Kang recently moved to Milan from London for new inspiration.
ISKAI Contemporary Art
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