"Archaeology of New York"

March 2 - April 5, 2005

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

ARCHAEOLOGY OF NEW YORK is a multi-media group exhibition, co-curated by Steanie Jeanjean and Yunkyoung Kim. It features seven artists living, working, or visiting New York City. 

Featured artists are Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani (USA), Tamara Gubernat (USA), Jaakko Heikkil?Finland), Jayeon Kwon (Korea), Alexis Raskin (USA), Mariana Viegas (Portugal), and Jeongmee Yoon (Korea). 

To artists with a keen sense of perception, New York is a place where the real and the fictional can be entangled. It is an actual and present-day place and, at the same time, it is an historic space, which can be the place for imaginary projections. New York City is something ambiguous and obscure, something behind the appearance, something invisible and unseen, something unconscious and unaware.These are everlasting lures to sensitive artists; these are a query on New York with which ARCHAEOLOGY OF NEW YORK begins. 

ARCHAEOLOGY OF NEW YORK proposes a visual equivalent of an archaeological process, which we name the visual excavation. This process adapts archaeological approaches for visual presentations by finding data, revealing history, and reconstructing memories of the invisible and the unconscious from the everyday routine of New York City. 

Like archaeologists, the artists research, observe, document, and unearth obvious or hidden manifestations of New York City. They restitute those manifestations from their own perspective through photographs, installations, and videos which reveals a different story of New York. 

Still as archaeologists, those artists gaze at New York from a distance and, as opposed to the usual temporal separation of the archaeologist, is here preferred the geographical and cultural distance of outsider observers who dig out cultures that are foreign to them. They obsessively, almost scientifically, but more often poetically, observe the city and stress its cultural diversity, which is the landmark of New York identity, while also becoming part of it. 

Mariana Viegas methodically researches and collects photographic and video traces of gardens and parks as remains of nature in the urbanity of the city. Jeongmee Yoon's The Stars and Stripes series (2004-2005) questions the ideology behind the fundamental American symbol that is the American flag, and photographs it in its most diverse and unusual modes of apparition. Jayeon Kwon's Pretend series (2006) records the physical traces of past times, which remains visible only as layers, on present-day architectural constructions. Tamara Gubernat's The Accumulated History of Moments (2005) expands the possibilities of the photographic plan by adding multiple layers that suggest different strata of history and different identities of specific New York areas. Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani's Lost & Found (1993-2006) is a collection of anonymous photographs found in the New York area and collected by her over years; it finally constitutes a private and unusual archival computer database, which is here made public. Jaakko Heikkil?also penetrates the private sphere in a series of photographs of interiors occupied by their tenants, all of them living on the same Harlem street. Finally, Alexis Raskin collected testimonies of Chinese women who came to New York's Chinatown and proposes a video installation, Chinese Dishes (2006), which is the first stage of a movie in two parts to come.

In February 2006, Stehanie Jeanjean and Yunkyoung Kim were invited to present their project ARCHAEOLOGY OF NEW YORK at the Annual Graduate Symposium On Edge: Visual Culture across Boundaries,organized by the Department of History of Art and Archaeology, at Cornell University (Ithaca, New York). They also received a grant from the Arts Council Korea and will publish an exhibition catalogue of this exhibition current 2006. 

Stehanie Jeanjean is a Doctoral applicant at the Graduate Center of CUNY and an Adjunct Professor of Art History at City College. Regularly S. Jeanjean writes on contemporary art for French cultural magazines and newspapers; she has published articles in Art Press, Chronic'art, and Hors d'euvre. In 2004, S. Jeanjean curated two solo exhibitions of New York based artist China Blue at the Atheneum and at the Galerie Interface (Dijon, France). In 2005, she presented a paper at the Annual CAA Conference in Atlanta on Societal Behavior Suggested by Artists from the 1950s to Today.Recently, the book she co-edited with Lionel Bovier, Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle... Ecrits et entretiens 1966-2003, a collection of writings and interviews by Olivier Mosset, was published by the MAMCO (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Geneva, Switzerland). In January 2006, S. Jeanjean curated the multi-media collective exhibition Once Upon a Time 1 at NUTUREart (Brooklyn, New York). 

Yunkyoung Kim is a Doctoral student at the Graduate Center of CUNY. She writes for the Korean art magazine Art in Culture and published Saffron-colored Dream: Twenty Six Years Reserved for Sixteen Days, Christo & Jeanne-Claude's Gates(Art in Culture, March 2005), Dreaming of an Oasis in the Downtown: Public Art in New York(Art in Culture, September 2004), and numerous articles on emerging artists active in New York City. In 2005, she also published an essay Nice to Meet You for the exhibition catalogue Host: Nancy Hwang edited by Project Space Sarubia (Seoul, Korea). In November 2004, Y. Kim presented a paper "Approach to Public Art: In the Case of Culture in Action,"at the 5th Annual Symposium Art as a Public Forum, organized by the Korean Association for History of Modern Art in Seoul, which was subsequently published in its Journal of History of Modern Art 16 (December 2004). In October 2006, her exhibition project Vacant is scheduled at the Brain Factory (Seoul).

Miro Yoon