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Curating Contemporary Art (MA)

Byunghun Jun Chae (he/him)


The reciproCITY​ project proposal was developed in response to a brief from Artangel. We sought to expose the effects of "intentional" displacement caused by the lack of social housing in London and create awareness around the need for meaningful placement for those affected. 

According to an independent study by the London Tenants Organisation, London has had over 22,000 social housing buildings knocked down over the past 10 years. As a result, affordable housing has become scarce. And, instead of restoring, the city has been focused on demolishing.

We have chosen to ground our public display in the notion of “home”, concentrating on the themes of displacement, migration, multi-generational households, gentrification, upheaval, etc. We do this by presenting a domestic environment  in which each object represents something that could possibly exist in a multi-generational home. The objects in the room and the art on the walls symbolise themes that have generated the reciproCITY project. We are inviting the viewer to use this room as a reference point to experience the realities that exist around the housing crisis.

In our public display, we present work by two commissioned poets, Phoenix Yemi and Miracle Nwaizu alongside Giles Watkins . On the screen in our display we will show short films from Do Ho Suh and Jermaine Francis. We have also programmed a panel discussion with photographer Jermaine Francis, artist Harold Offeh, and social housing campaigner Kwajo Tweneboa, to join us in discussing the lack of affordable housing in London from various perspectives. We will end our live display with a film screening of Ayo Akingbade’s Jitterbug (2022).

  • 30 June - 3 July 2023 / 12 - 6 pm, 30 June until 7.30 pm
  • Private View : Thursday 29 June, 6 - 8 pm (Registering is needed via Eventbrite)
  • at Studio Building (Public Display) / Gorvy Lecture Theatre, Dyson Building (Live Element) Battersea Campus of the Royal College of Art

Curated by Byunghun Jun Chae, Alicia DeLarge, Xinran Fang, Jarelle Francis, Franziska Hanke, Luyan Li and Fetine Sel Tuzel.

Image: Camelot Street Estate flanking the Old Kent Road, London. Image courtesy of Tony Ray-Jones / RIBA Collections.

statement image

Byunghun Jun Chae is a curator in South Korea and the UK, currently interested in cross-cultural encounters of contemporary visual art as a researcher. In particular, he delves into and visualise the contemporary issues that penetrate local and global art scenes by utilising the curatorial-led collective intelligence with multidisciplinary approach. His practice has been forming by observing the surrounding and peer learning process. He was the curator of ARKO Art Center (Art Council Korea, 2019-2021), the curatorial supporter for the Korean Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (2019), and the exhibition assistant of Hermès Korea (Atelier Hermès, Foundation d’Entreprise Hermès, 2014-2015). Plus, he curated the exhibitions Unveiled Memories (2023, Daniel Benjamin Gallery Gallery, London, UK) as a guest curator, Unboxing (2023, Hockney Gallery, Royal College of Art, London, UK) as an independent curator and artist. He also co-curated the exhibitions Wholly Other (2023, Crypt Gallery, London, UK), the RCA graduation projects (show and live elements) reciproCITY (2023, Battersea Campus of the Royal College of Art, London, UK).

Jun undertook an extended essay entitled Curatorial-led Collective Intelligence in Art after the COVID-19 Pandemic, focusing on a comparative analysis of curatorial projects (exhibitions, archives, public programmes, and publications) at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, England and the ARKO Art Center (Art Council Korea) in Seoul, South Korea from 2020 to 2022. This study was grounded in a conceptual exploration of the discipline of "curating/curatorial" that gained substantial scholarly attention during the 1960s. It entailed an examination of pioneering figures and early curatorial endeavors that engaged in experimental applications of collective intelligence. Additionally, a methodological framework, referred to as the "conversational approach," was employed to gather dynamic firsthand accounts of contemporary curatorial practices. As part of this method, in-depth interviews were conducted with the curatorial teams, encompassing directors and team members, at both the ARKO Art Center and The Whitechapel Gallery. The primary objectives of these interviews were twofold: to ascertain the potential for collective intelligence within art institutions and to explicate the concept of the "curator-as-collector/editor" within this context.

The concept of the 'bridge' holds paramount significance within his curatorial practice. In the words of artist Huang Yong Ping, "a bridge serves to connect disparate entities while possessing two distinct endpoints". Consequently, in his pursuit of forging connections between multiple ideas, Jun consistently poses and addresses questions in order to discern these two endpoints. He also aspires to assume the role of a collector and editor of creative knowledge, capable of amalgamating not only individual intellects but also a multitude of intellectual perspectives. Through this endeavor, he aims to propel curatorial-led activities and foster a collaborative environment.

Prior to his studies at the RCA, he graduated with a BA in Fashion Design from Kookmin University (Seoul, S. Korea) and obtained the first MA in Art History from Hongik University (Seoul, S. Korea).