HANOVER- In April 2009, Korea is presenting itself as the partner country of the Hannover Messe, the largest and simultaneously the most innovative industrial trade fair in the world. Thanks to the full support of the Ministry for Commerce and Knowledge of the Republic of South Korea, an extensive cultural program is being offered which engages in a cultural investigation of the history and social development of Korea. In cooperation with the kestnergesellschaft, the exhibition »made in korea« opens on April 16 in the building which formerly housed the SinnLeffers department store. On four floors it presents examples of contemporary art, photography and design which are closely interconnected. In the Hanover City Library, a exhibition focuses on Korean book art. On view are rare and valuable specimens from the history of Korean book-printing and -design, as well as various Korean books for children. A further cultural highlight takes place in the Künstlerhaus Hanover with the film series »Filmland Korea@Hannover 2009«. Current trends in Korean cinema are illuminated. The program includes not only films of already famous directors who are considered to be the main representatives of Korean cinematic art, but also new works by younger filmmakers. Moreover, »discovery boxes for children« will be made in order to bring Korea closer to German children. They contain animated films, board- and computer-games, as well as CDs and books.
The exhibition »made in korea« strives to present an overview of contemporary art as well as current photography and design in Korea. The title of the exhibition, »made in korea«, associates the social connotation between art and industry. In »made in korea«, there is a combination of all those reflections concerning past, present and future with which the exhibited works concern themselves.
The exhibition »Freizeit, eine verkleidete Arbeit?« (Recreation-Disguised Work?), which concerns itself with contemporary Korean art, is a part of the exhibition »made in korea«. The focus is on video art and installation. They concern themselves with the problem of industry and society, as well as of work and recreation. The exhibition focuses its attention on the changes in Korean society since 1992. In the year 1992, the military dictatorship which had controlled Korea for more than thirty years came to an end. For the first time in the history of Korea, there emerged a democratized society with a civilian government.
The exhibiting artists have been active since the nineteen-nineties and demonstrate new aspects of artistic practice. This is different from the socially critical art of the past which, in the name of political commitment, offered resistance to the repression and censorship carried out by the dictatorship. The exhibiting artists differentiate their interest in the historical interconnections of Korean society with various themes such as the end of the Cold War, neo-liberalism, globalization, rapid economic development, feminism, and the historical reflection concerning modernization.
The photographic exhibition »Magische Momente: Korea Express« (»Magic Moments: Korea Express«), which likewise is a part of »made in korea«, strives to depict Korean identities and at the same time to trace a profile of contemporary Korean photography. The subtitle »Korea Express« is ambiguous: On the one hand, it presents Korea through traditional worlds of Korean feeling and through the beauty of Korea; on the other hand, it also expresses the dynamic side of the worlds of Korean sentiment in that it reveals various facets of contemporary Korean society. »Magische Momente: Korea Express« mirrors political and social situations, Korean people, Korean urban landscapes and emotional landscapes, as well as various encounters and fantasies. The photographs show a section of daily life within the borders of Korean society. They reveal to us magic moments which capture the phases of the transitions in recent Korean history through real scenes or through the depiction of the sophisticated lives of individual persons.
The viewer encounters inward gazes which, in spite of the profound social upheavals, have maintained their contemplative nature. The design exhibition »Die Kunst des Shoppings: Design für Koreas GmbH« (»The Art of Shopping: Design for Koreas Corporations«) within »made in korea« devotes itself to the question as to what role design can play in an economic crisis. The exhibiting designers present products which have been developed with regard to the special spatial situation in the former SinnLeffers department store. The themes are, on the one hand, the habits and prejudices which dominate the unconscious during shopping and, on the other hand, the fascinating character of shopping. Moreover, the intention is to indicate the non-materialistic relationship between products and consumers. The nine different designer groups endeavor to reinterpret the meaning of »design«; in so doing, they draw support in common, even if in different ways, from a series of connections between product, consumption and sales.