Digital Utopia

Friday, February 6 - Saturday, March 20, 2004

Gallery Korea at the Korean Cultural Center New York
(460 Park Ave. 6th Floor, New York, NY 10022)

Gallery Korea is pleased to present "Digital Utopia," a multimedia duo show of Airan Kang and Julio Soto, curated by Eunhee Yang. This exhibition will mount the two international artists' recent video and photographic works, which explore narratives in the real and virtual worlds. For both of the artists, digital technology is essential to creating the narratives and making them accessible to the viewer. 
Airan Kang, widely exhibited in France, Japan, and Korea, channels her vision of the digital world through books. Since 1999, Kang has pursued her vision of the future of books. Her resin-cast, electric-lit books (or, more precisely, book containers without any content in them) began to appear in her installation pieces, for which she used paper books on bookshelves or photographic images of bookstore bookshelves. Those illuminated books, which were often unreadable except for the cover, and which made the adjacent conventional books look obsolete and dead, signified the coming of new books that would go beyond paper-relying mass-produced book technology.
For this exhibition, Kang shows digital books, which might be called her second phase of the book project. The new books now project information onto a vertical screen or a horizontal plate via sensors that detect the approach or presence of viewers. These more viewer-friendly books aspire to intrigue human beings, luring them beyond the printed book era into the digital world.

Julio Soto has made visual narratives of fallen or successful utopias, using highly digitally processed images in his recent video works. Featured in numerous international exhibitions and festivals, including Kassel Documenta Film and Video Festival (2003), NAP Video Biennial in Pasadena (2003), and ArtExpo 2003 in India (2003), Soto exhibits "The Possibility of Utopia" (2003), one of his recent digital projects, for this show. This eighteen-minute audiovisual work dynamically combines found images of once-ideal cities such as Akademgorodok, an artificial city designed by Soviet scientists in the 1950s and Pitesti, an urban center known for auto industries in Romania. Soto questions the ideal cities of the later half of the twentieth century and at the same time envisions the future of New Jersey by examining the desire-driven cities of the past. The fantastical quality of his work is derived not only from his archeological research of history but also from his recreation of the discovered images through computer technology. 

An opening reception will be held on Friday, February 6, from 6 - 8 pm, with both artists present. For further information, please contact Gallery Korea at (212) 759-9550. The gallery is open from 10 am to 7 pm Monday to Friday, and from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday. Closed on February 16 and March 1.

Miro Yoon