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A person inside the Freedom Village exhibition which looks like the inside of a spaceship.

MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2021: MOON Kyungwon & JEON Joonho

5 minute read

Art has the power to change opinions, inspire individuals and form deep connections with communities looking to deliver a better tomorrow. Hyundai continues to support the global art scene, with NEWS FROM NOWHERE, FREEDOM VILLAGE - the latest iteration of the MMCA Hyundai Motor Series by Korean artists MOON Kyungwon and JEON Joonho. The exhibition looks to inspire visitors through the thoughtful consideration of ‘what role can art play’ amidst the crisis and conflicts facing humanity today.

A poem without words

Art is as diverse as it is immersive, and there are many ways in which art can be viewed. But, at its core, art should not be seen as an object but a piece of communication. Art is a form of expression, which aims to transform, inspire, or challenge the viewer’s state of mind. The most influential artists from throughout history have always been able to take an idea however complicated it is, and communicate it with emotion.

Art allows us to examine what it means to be human, to have a voice, and to convey an idea that brings people together. It fosters an understanding between communities, and, with such diversity and conflict in today’s world, art can act as the mediator and change opinions. In doing so, art instill values allowing different cultures to communicate freely.

The lasting impact of the pandemic has affected nations, communities, and individuals equally as hard, and we’re all aware of the never-ending wave of change engulfing the globe. Collectively, we are all in search of bolder initiatives that can create positive change, and the role of art has never been more important, especially if we are to challenge ourselves and ask ‘how can we progress?’.

landscape acrylic

MOON Kyungwon & JEON Joonho, Landscape, 2021, Acrylic, oil on canvas, 292x425cm. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by LEE Jinchul. Image provided by MMCA.

In search of progress

Humans have constantly had their values challenged, but for ‘Progress for Humanity’ to thrive, sustainable solutions must confront existing ways of thinking to go beyond society’s preconceived expectations.

The areas we put our energy and efforts into today will affect what the future looks like, so, with that in mind, Hyundai Motor has a strong commitment to delivering progress that benefits all of society. For this to happen, we are committed to investing in a range of diverse initiatives that can positively impact the world, with one notable long-term project being the MMCA Hyundai Motor Series.

in search of progress

We believe art empowers our understanding of the future of humanity. Through our partnerships with art communities around the world, we aim to open up conversations for a better tomorrow THOMAS SCHEMERA EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND GLOBAL CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER AT HYUNDAI MOTOR

Hyundai Motor has been a long-term supporter of art initiatives, driven by long-standing partnerships with global museums. Especially, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea (MMCA) plays a key role in amplifying voices on topics that play an important role for mankind. Introduced in 2014, the MMCA Hyundai Motor Series is a ten-year partnership between the MMCA and Hyundai Motor Company, supporting Korean artists on the global art scene.


Since 2012, Korean artists MOON Kyungwon and JEON Joonho have been exploring the idea of ‘what role art plays' looking back at historical tragedies and periods of environmental change, asking important questions about how society can create a better collective future. Now, in association with MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2021, the artists present NEWS FROM NOWHERE, FREEDOM VILLAGE, a project allowing us to look back on the past, examine the present and seriously reflect on how we create a different future. The project is based on the village Daeseong-dong that lies in the no man’s land of the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), also known as "Freedom Village."

moon kyungwon, jeon joonho

MOON Kyungwon (back) & JEON Joonho. Image provided by MMCA.

The existence of 'Freedom Village' itself suggests varied points in life. It exists as our reality and might be unreal all at once. It not only stays in the past but reflects our present and future while constantly repeating and changing within our daily lives. MOON KYUNGWON, ARTIST

The exhibition focuses on the ‘Freedom Village’ that has spent the past 7 decades as a part of neither South nor North Korea since the signing of the Armistice Agreement in 1953, after the Korean War. The exhibition characterizes the isolated Freedom Village as a place where both countries exist but not at the same time due to the ideological conflict in the past.

NEWS FROM NOWHERE, FREEDOM VILLAGE is looking to expand the context of the Freedom Village from the past ideological conflicts of the Korean peninsula to the overall confrontation and tension in today’s world. It also reflects on the reality that the world faces today with the global pandemic, which is leading to increased isolation in many ways.

freedom village

MOON Kyungwon & JEON Joonho, NEWS FROM NOWHERE: FREEDOM VILLAGE, 2021, 2 channel HD film installation, color, sound, 14min 35 sec. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by LEE Jinchul, Image provided by MMCA

The exhibition consists of video, installation, archive, photograph, and large-scale printing. The video works depicts the story of two characters that have been isolated from the world for a long period of time: character A lives in the ‘Freedom Village’ and character B is from the future who discovers A's existence purely by chance.

As part of the exhibition, two videos play, one for each character, as they stand back-to-back, erasing past and future boundaries within the space and time of the museum. The space within the exhibition organically connects to the work, progressing through the flickering of lights and subtle adjustments of the acoustics in accordance with the narration — allowing viewers to feel a sense of coexistence with the characters in the video.

village archive 2021

MOON Kyungwon & JEON Joonho, FREEDOM VILLAGE_Archive, 2021, Archive installation, Dimensions variable. 13min 45 sec. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by LEE Jinchul, Image provided by MMCA

The MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2021 will also feature a ‘Mobile Agora’ discussion, focusing on the issues presented in the exhibition, including experts from a plethora of fields including architecture, science, design and humanities. Across five sessions, each expert will dissect the meaning of humanity, seeking to discover what has caused the current crisis facing society, while exploring alternative scenarios for our collective future.

mobile agora 2021

MOON Kyungwon & JEON Joonho, Mobile Agora, 2021, Stanless steel, aluminum, LED panel, 320x260x196cm(each). Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by LEE Jinchul, Image provided by MMCA

Unlocking a sustainable future

Within Hyundai, Artlab has the responsibility for expanding public access to the arts and deepening the engagement between institutions, artists, and communities. The primary role of the group is to spark a dialogue and collaborate beyond boundaries, challenging the ways in which we view and value art. The MMCA Hyundai Motor Series is a perfect example of these principles being put into practice.

NEWS FROM NOWHERE, FREEDOM VILLAGE aims to expand the scope of visitors' imagination by enabling them to travel across the boundaries of reality and fiction through images and videos based on actual archives and fiction on the village’s history. The exhibition serves as an opportunity for audiences to question what role art can play in unlocking a more sustainable future amid the crisis and contradictions facing humanity today.

NEWS FROM NOWHERE, FREEDOM VILLAGE, will run from September 3, 2021, through to February 20, 2022, at the MMCA Seoul and the exhibition is lookng forward to inspire visitors with its thoughtful consideration of the role of art in times of crisis.

Click here to find out more about how Artlab is influencing the world of art. Follow Hyundai’s Instagram(@hyundai) to find out more about our vision for the future of mobility.


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