Goddess Tales

curated by Katie Yook

A young Yu in collaboration with Nicholas Oh. Blood Memory, 2023, framed photograph of film still, 7X18 Inches
  • This information will be updated.
Goddess Tales is an exhibition of Asian diaspora artists living in the United States who reimagine ancient cultural practices and mythologies as part of their practice. The exhibition?s title is an ode to the female-centric practice of Korean shamanism, one of the oldest faith traditions in the world, in which the goddess plays a central role.

The artists? exploration of mythological and folkloric traditions signals a diasporic drive to enact non-lived experiences as a way to root oneself in one?s identity and strengthen intergenerational narratives, even if those narratives are not directly known, which is often the case with assimilation to a new country. It also brings to attention the sociopolitical conditions that led to their migration, and the often violent erasure of native cultural practices due to imperialism, colonialism, modernization, and capitalism.

One artist collective explores their diasporic condition by reimaging precolonial Korean folk and spiritual practices through movement and raw materials such as clay, dirt, water, and vegetation. Their cinematic performances explore the intergenerational passage of knowledge, the performance of ancient ancestral rituals, shamanism, and contemporary dance.

Another artist is interested in hybridizing ethno-traditional forms of knowledge with digital technologies. She employs the Filipinx archetype as a tool to bring cultural representation into future landscapes. Her performance and installation work is based on elements of indigenous Filipinx culture and traditions such as ritual headhunting and martial arts as expressions of postcolonial rage.

A multimedia artist whose maternal side comes from a long line of Korean shamans creates multi-screen video and sound installations interweaving themes such as quantum physics, new media, ancient mythologies, Korean shamanism, and automatic writing. The connection of seemingly different topics results in a postmodern, dream-like mashup that traverses time and space.

Another artist reimagines tarot cards through the lens of Chinese mythology. Several full tarot card decks will be displayed along the gallery walls alongside larger paintings, with accompanying interpretive texts to help guide viewers through a self-guided reading. Each deck is based on the artists? interpretation, inspired by Chinese literature, mythology, and Buddhist enlightenment.

Together, the artists use these forgotten rituals for various means, such as protection, veneration, and celebration. They suggest a turn towards alternative practices as a means of achieving spiritual guidance and survival when existing establishments continue to fail us. As a result, the exhibition evokes themes that are at once intimate and detached, ancient and contemporary, and personal and collective.
Katie Yook is a curator interested in supporting multimedia, research-driven practices. She has curated programs at AHL Foundation, The Yard Theatre, Cody Dock, Lewisham Arthouse, and Cubitt Gallery and has an MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths, University of London and BA in Contemporary Art from New York University.

apexart’s program supporters past and present include the National Endowment for the Arts, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Kettering Family Foundation, the Buhl Foundation, The Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Spencer Brownstone, the Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation, Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., William Talbott Hillman Foundation/Affirmation Arts Fund, the Fifth Floor Foundation, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, The Puffin Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and administered by LMCC, funds from NYSCA Electronic Media/Film in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund, with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.