A Korean face in Spanish art

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A Korean face in Spanish art

VALENCIA, Spain ― The Valencia Biennale, which runs until the end of the month, is providing more than enough visitors for this bustling Spanish port city. The commissioner of this biennale, the third, is a Korean curator, Kim Seung-duk, 51. Although not well known in Korea, Ms. Kim has made an international reputation organizing major art exhibitions over the last decade.
After graduating from Ewha Girl’s middle and high schools, she received a bachelors degree at Mary Mountain College, New York, and two masters degrees: one in civilization and French from New York University and another in art history from Hunter College. She began work on the domestic art scene in 1988, assisting in the creation of a sculpture park in Seoul Olympic Park. “It was an entry-level position, but it was the first time I worked with renowned foreign artists, and it was a memorable experience,” Ms. Kim said.
She later moved to Europe and was commissioned to work on “Passage Oriente” for the 1993 Venice Biennale with Yoko Ono and Shigeko Kubota, the wife of video artist Paik Nam-june.
Ms. Kim said the “Asiana” project, organized for the Venice Biennale in 1995, was the most meaningful event for her, because it involved five Korean artists.
“For me, it was the first exhibition in which I presented Korean artists internationally,” Ms. Kim said. She also invited the installation artists Lee Bul and Kim Soo-ja to the Triennalle Kleinplastik in Stuttgart, Germany, that year. “Now they’re famous, but at that time the organizers were skeptical about inviting new artists,” she said.
The works of three Korean artists are on display in Valencia: the installation artists Gim Hong-sok and Hwang Jong-yung, who is studying at Dijon University, France, and the late sculptor Shin Moon.
“If their works are good, I invite them. It doesn’t matter whether they’re well-know artists or just students,” Ms. Kim said. She lives in Paris and speaks English, French and Italian fluently. She spends a few months every year traveling around the world to see trends in art.


by Shin Ye-ri
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