The Korean artists MOON Kyungwon & JEON Joonho create works that address elemental questions concerning contemporary civilization in light of political, socioeconomic, and ecological changes. The exhibition project News from Nowhere they jointly initiated in 2012 is premised on a post-apocalyptic scenario: humanity has been wiped out almost entirely and is forced to reconsider long-held convictions that may no longer be tenable. The project premiered at Documenta (13) and is designed as a steadily evolving ensemble. MOON & JEON have established an interdisciplinary and participatory platform on which renowned experts from the fields of product and fashion design, architecture, urban planning, and medical and biotechnology research discuss the urgent issues of our time with the audience. For the exhibition News from Nowhere: Zurich Laboratory at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, MOON & JEON have invited Urban-Think Tank and the Future Cities Laboratory, the two hubs for visionary thinking that are affili- ated with ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. The thematic focus is on the constitution and construction of communities. In order to approach these topics, the artists and their collaborators transform the gallery into a place of interaction and communication.
While other elements change, every installation of the project features the two films El Fin del Mundo (2012) and its sequel Avyakta (2012), which illustrate the artists’ vision of the future and outline the narrative framework for the exhibition. They undertake a poetic reflection on the quest for a core of human community and a solid foundation for society in a world that must make a fresh start after a devastating natural disaster has annihilated most humans and submerged much of the planet’s dry land. Another leitmotif is the inquiry into the role and function of art, which stands as a symbol of MOON & JEON’s hopes for a new world.
After the project’s premiere in Kassel and the follow-up presentation in the Sullivan Galleries of the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, the exhibition at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst is the third installation of News from Nowhere. The Japanese architect Toyo Ito and the design studio Takram Design Engineering are among the many contributors who have been involved with the ongoing collaborative venture. For each presentation, MOON & JEON adapt aspects of local society, politics, and history and themes of particular interest to the hosting country. The history of Switzerland’s emergence as a nation and its unique democratic system was an important inspi- ration as the artists conceived a show that will examine various facets of community life. A crucial component is the exhibition design, which is modeled on an ancient Greek agora. Working with their partners from ETH Zurich’s Department of Architecture, MOON & JEON create a site of exchange and gathering where the hierarchies of the outside world are suspended. An extensive and varied program of events will breathe life into the exhibition and make it a scene of boundless interaction with the audience.
WHERE Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Limmatstrasse 270, 8005 Zurich, Switzerland
WHEN August 28 – November 8, 2015