Gwangju
Barim Institute

shows
ROY LICHTENSTEIN

Back in 1994 Roy Lichtenstein directed a retrospective on his work at Haus der Kunst, where he supervised and instructed this large-scale piece of art. The depiction shows the first motive of the „As I Opened Fire! Triptych, which had been published 1964 during the Vietnam-War and was placed for his show at the Entrée of Haus der Kunst to contrast the Nazi-Building. Due to its unconventional technique this work is set apart from Lichtenstein´s conventional work, the image is executed with little stickers instead of silkscreen-raster and and fabricated in a bigger size

This version of his Vietnam-Cycle isn´t listed in the officical Lichtenstein catalogue raisonné and was dumped by the archive of Haus der Kunst. What remains gallery accepts the challenge to use this material once more as an artistic resource, not just because it stands as a historical document exactly at the threshold between irrelevance and significance, original and reproduction, charge and emptiness. 

  • In what extend do we have to relocate the artifacts of our art history under the circumstances of a propagandistically influenced cultural imperialism of the US?
  • How does the ambivalent effect of this Lichtenstein piece (which counts as one of the most important (anti-)war pieces) change in the face of the political and social disruption and censorship of korea?
  • How is it possible to engrave a change of meaning into the materiality of a contemporary document?

On the occasion of the 35th memorial days what remains gallery was invited to the city of Gwangju by Barim Institute in order to develop a site-specific artpiece on the sensitive topic of the „Gwangju Massacre“. While history itself is not just evolving, but also repeating, the act of remembrance gains a particular significance by facing on-going political controversies. A spiritual bond between the days of the Uprising in May 1980 and the present, where the victims of the riots are still waiting for justice. To this day the events that took place in 1980 have a huge influence on the political reality in Korea and the korean identity. The City of Gwangju as an artifact of the plagued spirit of the Democratization Movement and its meaning as a cultural center brings the so-called Spirit of Gwangju back to life annually in may. Activism meets art and art turns into propaganda. History gets revitalised and the cultural memory of a society is brought to mind. In an intervention at the place of terror Roy Lichtenstein´s martial „As I opened Fire“ was placed during the remembrance and brought together with the in South Korea highly controversial Chicken motif related to the artwork Sewol Owol by artist Hong Song Dam. A panoptical commentary on the art security-law passed by the south-korean government last year, which seeks to restrict pictorial freedom and the freedom of expression. It is no longer possible to criticise society and the state, without being afraid of reprisals by the authorities. This situation evokes a culture of fear, which branches are threatening the spirit of democracy and leading to nationalism and homophobia. The Spirit of Gwangju carried by the strength of numerous korean artists and activists opposes unterrified the introduction of censorship by state officials while embodying freedom and solidarity. The self-censorship of Hong Song Dam painting at the Gwangju Biennal 2014 and the momentous conflicts with the authorities illustrate, what precious goods Indiviuality and artistic freedom are for the global community of values and how hard it is to fuse norms of collective cultures with individual freedom.

Artist Talk
August 28, 5 pm

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WHAT REMAINS GALLERY would like to thank the following artists for their participation
AI WEI WEI . AKRAM ZATAARI . ALBERT HIEN . ANDREI MOLODKIN . ANDREW BLACKLEY . ARTHUR PAUL . BILL DRUMMOND . CATHY WILKES . CHRISTIAN PHILIPP MÜLLER . DANH VO . DANIEL BUREN . DAVID BLITZ . DUNCAN CAMPBELL . DUSTIN YELLIN . FRANZ LANDSPERSKY . FRIEDRICH KIESLER . FERNANDO SANCHEZ CASTILLO . GENERAL IDEA . IAN KIAER . KERSTIN BRÄTSCH . LAWRENCE WEINER . LIAM GILLICK . LUTZ BACHER . MARKUS BENESCH . RICHARD JACKSON . ROY LICHTENSTEIN . SCOTT KING . SOFIA MONTENEGRO . TOBIAS MADISON . TOBIAS REHBERGER . WALID RAAD .