Terra Galaxia : Aerotropolis and the Airport | Liverpool Biennial 2012(Eng)



 Terra Galaxia

Terra Galaxia : Aerotropolis and the Airport | Liverpool Biennial 2012

At the invitation of the Liverpool Biennial 2012 ‘City States’ project, the exhibition Terra Galaxia revisits modern day hospitality with paradoxical representations at one of its most contemporary venues: the international airport.

Forming part of fourteen archipelagos of “city states” housed over 600 square meters inside the historic Royal Mail Building in Liverpool, “Terra Galaxia” has taken its inspiration from the city of Incheon in South Korea. Incheon is the home of South Korea’s main airport and is the country’s historic port city, which was forced to open to modernization in early 19thcentury. The exhibition responds to the Liverpool Biennial 2012 theme of ‘hospitality’ and the similarities between Liverpool and Incheon, our city state.

The title reflects the co-existence of opposite spheres, the futuristic frontier architecturally enclosed space in a state-bound hub, the comings and goings, commercial openness versus paranoid suspicion and security — all of this against an orchestrated backdrop of ‘hospitality’.

In fact, no other modern day institution features more diverse yet complicated aspects of hospitality. Every single element, from tourism to immigration, duty free shops or counter-terrorism, projects ‘hospitality’ through a politically charged prism.

With its daily influx of nomadic guests hosted by armies of illustrious and colourful inhabitants, hosts, guests and parasites are colonizing Terra Galaxia – outer space on human Earth. Six artists were selected to offer a unique view of these forms of globalised, mercantile hospitality – seldom genuine, often commercial and bureaucratic (and tired) – but also to artistically expose the motives behind them.

Through the exhibition, visitors will encounter arenas marked to reflect the artists’ encounter with the definition of institutional hospitality : Departure, Customs, Journey, Baggage, Immigration and Arrival.

(Customs) Kyungah HAM collects articles and images that are forbidden to North Koreans, collages them and sends them to be hand-embroidered by North Korean embroiderers. Using Chinese brokers and other mediators, the works are sometimes confiscated and never returned.

(Journey) Security-obsessed airports have become even more painful to endure after terrorist threats. Seoungwon WON is a photographer with allegorically rich and personal photographs. She responded to this theme with a triptych photograph showing captivating images before, during and after a journey. The past, present and future are represented with a personal reflection on her life’s journey.

(Baggage) Airport hospitality, often half-heartedly feigned and reluctantly accepted, is presented in all sorts of ways from airline ticketing desks and flight boarding staff to immigration officers. Suknam YUN captures and narrates a story with cut-out papers representing many facets of living, juxtaposed with a sense of rejection.

(Immigration) Sen CHUNG sketches the airports’ daily guests and their inhabitants; the hub’s inhabitants become guests, hosts or sometimes parasites.

(Arrival)  Suk Kuhn OH is a resident artist of the Incheon Art Platform who collected and archived different representations of Korea with old post cards and more contemporary photos. OH’s works will provide sharp observations about the view of the self and the other.

(Transition) Wil Bolton is a Liverpool-based artist working predominantly with sound, sometimes enhanced with video and photography. He will spend August 2012 as an Artist in Residence at the Incheon Art Platform and his works produced there will be shown at the Biennial.


Hosted by Liverpool Biennial City States
Organised by
ISKAI Contemporary Art UK, Incheon Art Platform
Sponsored by
Incheon Cultural Foundaton, City of Incheon, Art Council Korea
Stephanie Seungmin Kim (Director, ISKAI Contemporary Art)
Leeji Hong (Curator, ISKAI Contemporary Art)

Notes to Editor

ISKAI Contemporary Art is a UK-based art exhibition curating company, specializing in showcasing art in unusual and creative settings. In 2011, ISKAI debuted internationally renowned London-based designer Mortiz Waldemeyer in Seoul with a one ton one-off installation for the biggest shopping mall in Korea. In 2012, ISKAI Contemporary Art has curated ‘16 Stafford Terrace’ and will be participating in the Moscow Biennial for Young Arts (July-August), and Liverpool Biennial’s City States (Sept-Nov).

Incheon Art Platform, run by the Incheon Foundation for Arts and Culture, is a cultural and artistic complex built in Haean-dong Jung-gu, Incheon as part of a project named Revitalization Project of Old City Center in Incheon. Incheon Art Platform’s aim is to encourage active dialogue between various artistic activities to create a synergy effect and to make a contribution to the development of culture and arts. Incheon Art Platform runs a residency programme that promotes artists and provides them with a comfortable and stable temporary space for living, creation and research.

The exhibition is sponsored by the City of Incheon, thethird largest city of South Korea. Close to China, Incheon has one of Korea’s largest seaports of and first opened its gates to foreigners in the early 19th century. Until then, Korea was referred to as the “Hermit Kingdom”. Incheon thus evokes both the locality and universality of a gateway city in the 21st century global world.

222037_10151393281294688_1563774531_n1Opening of the exhibition