Group exhibition of former resident artists at SongEun Artspace in Seoul, curated by Aaron Cezar, Director of Delfina Foundation.
Through humour, subversion and provocation, Delfina in SongEun: Power play explores the complex nature of friendship and the power dynamics at play within relationships between individuals, institutions and the state.
Bringing together ten former resident artists of Delfina Foundation, this group exhibition is an adaptation of SongEun Artspace’s annual programme of country-specific exhibitions with guest curators, including Italy in SongEun: We Have Never Been Modern (2015) and Indonesia in SongEun: Mes56 – Keren Dan Beken (2016). In a twist on this concept, SongEun ArtSpace has invited Delfina Foundation Director Aaron Cezar to curate a show that considers Delfina Foundation as an autonomous domain with artists as temporary residents.
At the core of artist residencies is the notion of cultural exchange, of leaving one’s home to live, work and share ideas in another place. While many residency programmes are created in the spirit of collaboration, like Delfina Foundation’s partnership with SongEun ArtSpace, other initiatives are forged as a form of soft diplomacy, where artists assume the role of ambassador – or worst, are cast into the role of the ‘Other’.
Power Play takes it cue from Jacques Derrida’s The Politics of Friendship (1994), in which the philosopher refers to the problematic connection between the notions of friendship, citizenship and democracy. According to Derrida, one must always recognise the power at play within friendships and the constant need for renegotiation, whether this relates to individuals, institutions or states. The exhibition demonstrates different strategies employed by artists to interrogate the political consequences of friendship and respond to different types of power relationships, from the personal to the communal, including those between humans and nature (environmental); artists and audiences (participation); guests and hosts (hospitality); individuals and the state (citizenship); and nation-states (diplomacy).
Ten former resident artists of Delfina Foundation have been invited by its director Aaron Cezar to participate in this major group show with solo and newly commissioned collaborative works including: Jungju An (South Korea), Jungki Beak (South Korea), Soyoung Chung (South Korea), Shezad Dawood (UK), Jaebum Kim (South Korea), Bona Park (South Korea), Oscar Santillan (Ecuador/The Netherlands), Jasmijn Visser (The Netherlands/Germany), Lantian Xie (UAE), and Ala Younis (Jordan).