Nathalie Boseul SHIN is the very active chief curator at Seoul’s first private museum, the Total Museum of Contemporary Art. Her background is in the Media Arts, yet she curated Contemporary Art exhibitions since she joined the museum in 2007, and organised a number of annual international projects since 2010.
She stays at the Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy on invitation of the Mondriaan Fund, as one of a group of art professionals from South Korea and Japan who represent a wide range of art institutions.
It's the first time she didn’t use Schiphol as a transit but as a destination airport. She enjoys staying at our hotel, because of the connection to MVRDV, the architecture firm responsible for our make-over 10 years ago. SHIN organised an exhibition with the firm in Seoul in 2012.
Already after a day trip to Rotterdam, the visit tastes of more. Boseul SHIN says, ‘’We visited Boymans van Beuningen, and I really would have liked more time to view the exhibition. Also, there are some super nice collections here”.
The climate for Media Arts in South Korea is not as great as you would think.
“There are many highly developed technology companies in South Korea, like LG and Samsung, and it is a society highly saturated with technology, but unfortunately we do not have a lot of outstanding media artists. Also, we do not have an institution like V2 in Rotterdam. I came to Total Museum eight years ago, but only these last years we are more focused on Photography, Media Art and Video since someone needs to do this.”
Boseul SHIN organises critical reflection on innovative technologies. “I organise thematic projects with international partners and am interested in arranging a platform for learning and discussion. Media Art is also about reflection on the social and political issues around technology. Right now I am very interested in the implications of 3D printing and in the way the human body changes under the influence of technology. I organise talks and workshops around these subjects”.
Boseul SHIN is a very clever social media user, involving Facebook and ISUU.com to reach an international audience.
“Most visitors of Total Museum are Koreans, but the programme is international. For the last eight years I pursued a thematic approach. I am very interested in Urban Planning. Most exhibitions I curated were a collaboration with the social sector, politicians, architects and city planners. Gentrification is a big issue here. A lot of people are kicked out. That is the reason we happily invited MVRDV. I did not so much do a presentation, but more a focus on ‘What is the social side of city life?’ Because many apartments in Asia are uniformly designed tower blocks. MVRDV started from Taipei, researching how to restore personal life and autonomy in these environments. Our show was more a study into living conditions in these high-rise structures in Asia. To MVRDV’s research we added some of Korea, so they made an updated version of their Taipei Vertical Village Exhibition here. It was a really nice moment.
Boseul SHIN also initiated an ongoing traveling exhibition, to introduce and promote the work of Korean artists, ‘Traveling Suitcases’.
I talked to artist friends about their international position, and then I got the idea to make a bag. At the Venice Biennale of 2013, Korea was not officially invited. In order to have a presence, we had an exhibition at Hotel Amadeul. The artists brought their own suitcase and invited some curators who worked in the Venice Pavillions to a party at our apartment. The small show turned into a project, ‘The Show Must Go On’, with 16 mobile artists’ portfolios. In Venice I met a professor who kept the suitcase for a month, then a Romanian friend of his visited Venice, who brought it to Romania and gave it to a Greek curator. In that way we had a traveling exhibition. A tour of talks in London, Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) and Seoul was organised alongside the mobile expo. This year, we rented an apartment in Venice and do a new version of the Traveling Suitcases. In addition, we will have a photo exhibition, for which we ask five Venetians and five visitors to take pictures of Venice."
In this way, Boseul SHIN has raised the profile of Korean artists abroad.