Koo Jeong-a, known for her conceptual work centering ungraspable elements such as scent, silence, and luminescence, has been chosen to represent South Korea at the Sixtieth Venice Biennale, to take place April 20–November 24, 2024, the Korean Herald reports. The notoriously reticent Koo first gained notice in 1998, with her contribution to the exhibition “Unfinished History” at Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center, for which she created a shelter in the corner of the gallery, where she hid while the exhibition was installed. When the exhibition opened and the structure was removed, all that remained was a heap of papier-mâché wher Koo had lain. She gained still wider attention for her phosphorescent skateparks, which she began making in 2012. She has participated in the 1995, 2001, and 2003 Biennales. She has enjoyed solo shows at the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and Dia:Beacon, New York. Her work has been included in group shows at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Tate Modern, London.
The Korean Pavilion will be cocurated by Jacob Fabricius and Lee Sun-hee. Fabricius is director of Denmark’s Kunsthal Aarhus; prior to assuming that role, in 2021, he was artistic director there, beginning in 2016. He was artistic director of the Busan Biennale in 2020. Lee Sun-Hee is a curator at Kunsthal Aarhus; she headed the Busan Biennale’s exhibition team 2020. The pair’s collaboration marks the first joint curatorship of the pavilion since its founding in 1995.
Aarhus and Lee will curate the pavilion around the theme “Korean Scent Journey.” Koo will contribute works grouped under the rubric “Odorama Cities.” Visitors to the pavilion will be immersed in an intimate environment filled with such unseen elements as elements such as scents and temperatures, which together will conjure a national portrait of Korea.
“Artist Koo Jeong-a’s unique sensibility will be expressed through the exhibition and the Korean Pavilion will serve as a place for sensory experience and function as a community of memory,” said a representitve of Arts Council Korea, which sponsors the pavilion.