Hyundai Motor is supporting contemporary art to address the questions of our time
Far more than a means of transportation, a car is an expression of identity and a lifestyle choice. Accordingly, the contemporary car manufacturer needs to take a holistic approach to conception and design. With its vision of ‘progress for humanity’, Hyundai Motor goes as far as seeking to shape values and inspire innovation; it aspires to transcend the realm of technology and enhance our lives. By facilitating cultural experiences, exhibitions and installations, the company hopes to open up purposeful conversations for a better future. It sees art as a prism through which we can increase our understanding of the world and therefore strive to improve it.
‘We think that transforming people’s lives for the better will be possible only when technology reflects a deep understanding of society and the progressive ethos of art,’ says Cornelia Schneider, vice president and head of Global Experiential Marketing. ‘Hyundai Motor believes that the value of art lies in its understanding and respect for humanity. Art poses important questions for society and widens our view of the world. With our engagement in art, we offer platforms to inspire, to listen, and to create a better future for all of us.’
Despite the challenges created by the global pandemic and the restrictions it has imposed on access to the arts around the world, Hyundai Motor has continued to explore culture and creativity with major initiatives during 2020.
Opened this autumn and ongoing through February 2021 at Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Seoul is the exhibition ‘MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2020: Haegue Yang – O2 & H2O’. The series provides a platform for a leading Korean artist each year – Lee Bul, Kimsooja and Park Chan-kyong have all featured – and this time is dedicated to Seouland Berlin-based Haegue Yang. The show’s title, ‘O2 & H2O’, refers to the essential elements for life and was inspired by a petrol station sign that read ‘air and water’. Through
the abstract language of art, Yang touches on topics from science to sensorial perception and climate change. ‘She deals with subjects such as the relationship between organisms and machines, domesticity, migration and borders,’ says Schneider. ‘These are issues that concern us all.’
In addition to its collaboration with MMCA, Hyundai Motor supports art initiatives through long-term partnerships with the likes of the UK’S Tate and the
Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
In London, Tate Modern is among art institutions that have faced periods of closure during lockdowns. Its showing of American artist Kara Walker’s installation Fons Americanus, the fifth Hyundai Commission in a ten-year series for the Turbine Hall, has been extended to February 2021. Walker is known for her candid explorations of race, gender, sexuality and violence, and her sculpture, a four-tier fountain, questions narratives of power and uses water as a theme to refer to the transatlantic slave trade.
An initiative launched by Hyundai Motor and Tate, ‘Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational’ is an inclusive platform that encourages innovative ways of thinking about art and global art histories. Most recently, the centre’s research supported the latest exhibition of South African visual activist Zanele Muholi, on show at Tate Modern until March 2021.
Hyundai Motor has also embraced virtual platforms to disseminate art. This summer, in collaboration with Elektra, a Montreal-based art institution dedicated to international contemporary digital arts, it presented ‘Hyundai X Elektra: Metamorphosis’. Aiming to broaden our understanding of the relationship between humanity, nature and technology, the show considered what societal transformations may follow the pandemic. Work by artists from three continents was brought together in an exhibition at Hyundai Motorstudio in Seoul, and shared digitally, on platforms including Google Arts & Culture.
In China, meanwhile, Hyundai Motor has an ongoing partnership with Shanghai’s Yuz Museum. Launched in November, the latest programme, ‘Hyundai Art + Tech Programme at Yuz’, explores the creative relationship between art and technology.
Since 2017, Hyundai Motor’s commitment to art and creativity has also been showcased in its annual Hyundai Blue Prize. The award is given to emerging curators in China with insightful approaches to presenting the complexities of contemporary society. This year, the fourth Hyundai Blue Prize reflects on the pandemic, with the theme ‘Resonant City’. Focusing on urban renewal, it offers a new perspective on quality of life in cities, when the world faces a common crisis.
Expect more to come in 2021, as Hyundai Motor continues to explore the world through art. hyundai.com