Opening reception: Thursday, September 5, 6 – 8 pm
5 September – 24 November 2019
Fondamenta Sant’Anna 992/a, Venice, Italy
Curated by Marco Galvan
Public Toilet investigates the interdependent trilogy between the role of the artist, appropriation art and authorship. Within the exhibition Sang Woo Kim playfully reimagines and reenacts works by world renowned artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Sarah Lucas, Elmgreen and Dragset, providing these works with alternate narratives by presenting them in an entirely new context. The exhibition consists of a physical immersion into a droll, fictional public toilet, one that exists to satirise modes in which art is perceived and presented.
Public Toilet calls into question the prototypical idea of artistic authenticity by recontextualising works to emphasise how art accumulates meanings and interpretations over time. Far from undermining the concept of authorship, the artist instead reaffirms and strengthens it. Progressive from the so-called art of appropriation, Sang Woo Kim approaches a culture where an artwork is no longer the endpoint but a single moment in an infinite chain of contributions, dismantling deeply rooted art-historical concepts and suggesting their intrinsic tendency to alter. Drawing on the history of the readymade, the artist’s works serve not only as signifiers to how appropriation is used as a formal tool, but also to confront the very process itself.
The Venice Biennale acts as a theatre where Public Toilet is conceived as a site-specific stage. As the viewers enter the space, they evolve into the agents of the creative process: this shapes a multilayered set of narratives in which the Public Toilet is the mise-en-scène. Sang Woo Kim appropriates other artists work and puts it back to where they inherently belong, provoking new associations and responses. A bog standard toilet signed “S.KIM 2019”, that paradoxically is the only functioning toilet, is placed in the gallery which gives the public the opportunity to use it. Would you?
Sang Woo Kim’s take on the gallery is playful, incisive and deceiving. By constructing a wryly entertaining space of cohabitation, Public Toilet manifests itself as an open-stage to exercise new connections between artistic creation and human behaviour, bridging the every-day reality with art, whilst questioning the notions of art with the every-day reality.