From Jean H. Lee’s Instagram Feed
There are a couple of photographers I follow on Instagram that feature images of North Korea. One of the photographers, Jean H. Lee, was interviewed back in May. Her Instagram handle is newsjean (David Guttenfelder’s handle dguttenfelder is the other; I recommend following both). When asked about what would surprise the outside world about North Korea she says, “When I show my photos and videos of daily life in North Korea, or share anecdotes about what it’s like to live and work with North Koreans, people are most surprised by how “human” North Koreans seem because the picture we usually get is so orchestrated. But like the rest of us, they laugh, they cry, they joke, they fight. They love to tell jokes, they love to dance, they love to sing.”
On another note, The Real DMZ Project opened July 27, the sixtieth anniversary of the cease-fire. According to the project’s website, “The Real DMZ Project is a contemporary art project based on researches of the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) and the border district. It began in 2012 and will be proceeded as a long term project with interdisciplinary researches and practices. This year, it aims to elaborate on geopolitical meanings of the border region of DMZ in Cheorwon through the frames of art, humanity, sociology, and science with ‘borderline’ as the keyword. Moreover, the project will seek to provide a sustainable platform where the studies of the DMZ conducted in diverse fields can be shared.” For more information visit the review on e-flux where I became aware of the project and The Real DMX Project website.
The conference I attended in Macau had film screening along with the panels. They featured two films about North Korea, each representing a different approach to the situation there: Unfortunate Brothers: Korea’s Reunification Dilemma and Memory of Forgotten War. I only viewed the second but after talking to the director of the screenings I would recommend both of the films.
If you’d like to dig deeper into the visual politics of North Korea I recommend looking into Visual Politics and North Korea: Seeing is Believing by David Shim. It will be published by Routledge later this the fall.
On a lighter note, I prefer this to this.
After this post goes live I’ll have just enjoyed a scone and coffee sitting next to Lake Michigan at sunrise with my parents and husband. A much needed pause from this (wonderful) and crazy summer. If you’d like to follow along you can find me on Instagram. Enjoy the last few days of summer.
Dongwook Lee’s Vitamin from 2003 via Doosan Gallery
From the press release of his solo exhibition Love Me Sweet at Arario Gallery, “As figure who represents the Korean new wave sculptors early in the new millennium, Lee has contrasted perfect beauty to the violent, uncanny situations that lurk beneath through elaborate and realistic sculptures made of a material called Sculpie. The composition of his works, perfectly modeled and exposed under precise containment, reflect Lee’s tendency to push himself to the very boundaries of controllability.” via Art Forum
Mioon’s Lead Me to Your Door from 2011 via Neolook
Mioon is a collaborative between Min Kim and Moon Choi. I first saw their work in the Korean Eye Catalogue which states of the artists, “In their reading of today’s cultural landscape they reveal the fictional and ideological mechanisms that pervade underneath the surface of things in various forms.”
Hyungkoo Lee’s Face Trace 003 from 2012 via AKIVE
Part of Gallery Skape’s press release for Face Trace, “The artist captures his own various facial expressions and intentionally fragments into several parts. By reassembling them according to the studies of physiognomy, he composes totally different figures. Face Trace is created by overlapping skull structures of several human races and different parts of artist’s multiple facial expressions. This process follows the method of facial reconstruction used in forensic science.” via Art Agenda
Image of Young Jean Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show (source)
Article on Art Radar: nudity to challenge state corruption in China, an interview with Kimsooja (who represents South Korea in the Venice Biennale this year), an interview with Afghanistan’s first female street artist, and finally, I was thrilled to see an article on Young Sun Han! Hang grew up outside of Chicago (and has since lived all over the world). I had the pleasure of meeting him last year. Some of his work addresses his North Korean heritage.
Last spring I had the privilege of seeing Young Jean Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show at the MCA in Chicago. The experience was shocking, liberating, energizing, and hands down the most intelligent and provoking work I’ve seen on a stage. I also saw a talk with Lee before the performance and met her briefly afterwards, she was humble, intelligent, and gracious. This week I was thrilled to see a piece about her “We’re Gonna Die” on the New York Times. Here’s a clip about it on NYT (I love that the next clip is about Avenue Q) and Lee’s Viemo stream.
I always enjoy immersive art via DesignBoom.
Have you heard of the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania? The name of the museum doesn’t revel the content of the collection: sex and death. Here’s an article about it from the New Yorker.
Doosan Gallery in Seoul just opened the exhibition The Next Generation. Someone go take a peak for me!
Five films for those who are involved in the arts via Art Radar. I show Un chien Andalou to my students the second day of class!
Hazel Dooney on the gallery system.
Some portraits on DesignBoom: Kim Jong Il framed in pink, colorful x-rays, and lego heads.
A little bit of nepotism, my sister just moved to England and started a new blog to document the experience with her stunning photography and marvelous writing. She used to write here.
Modern Art Asia’s Issue 14, Standing, Sitting, Crooked, features the extended version of my piece on Chang Jia’s photographs Standing Up Peeing. The introduction to the issue states, “The issue opens with Kate Korroch’s analysis of Chang Jia’s Standing up Peeing series. Chang Jia, a South Korean photographer, documents the feelings of compromise, jubilation or rebellion women experience in the act of pissing, upright, under the camera’s gaze.”
As many of you know, I am currently in East Asia preparing to present at the International Convention of Asia Scholars. Yesterday I left Seoul where I spent time reconnecting with artists and art spaces and discovering new work. One of my first meetings was with Chang Jia on whom I’m presenting next week. We met in 2011 and since then have stayed in touch. In my preparation for our meeting I found a video of Chang produced by the Korean Artist Project discussing her work. It is five minutes and gives a nice overview of the aims in her work.
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Venice Biennale is not only an opportunity for the featured artists but also a chance for other artists to flood the neighboring art spaces in the City of Bridges. In a designated collateral event, Who is Alice? is an exhibition at Spazio Lightbox curated by Chuyoung Lee featuring 16 artists from South Korea: U-Ram Choe, Young Geun Park, Hong Chun Park, Hein Kuh Oh, Osang Gwon, Yeon Doo Jung, Myung Keun Koh, Dongwook Lee, Xooang Choi, Jung Wook Kim, Doo-jin Kim, Hyungkoo Lee, Beom Kim, Haegue Yang, and Myoung Ho Lee. You have seen Xooang Choi (or Choi Xooang) and Hyungkoo Lee on this blog before. Interestingly, Lee was part of a group that represented South Korea in the Korean Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007.
Doo-Jin Kim, The Youth of Bacchus, 2010-2011 via National Museum of Contemporary Art Korea
Who is Alice? is acts as a themed survey of some of the contemporary art made by artists from South Korea the last few years. The artworks selected for the exhibition are from the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea‘s permanent collection. They give an overview of the rooms on their website and where you can also see some images of the work . In the statement the curator says that Who is Alice? “will greet you with a hand coyly outstretched and, before you know it, will have whisked you away into its phantasmagoric depth of contemporary Korean art.” The exhibition has received ample international coverage on online sources such as e-flux and Art in Asia.
I recently started contributing to Art Radar Asia! See my first two articles here and here. They also asked me to write an article on the female body in contemporary South Korean Art. I focused on Lee Rim, Miru Kim, and Nikki S. Lee for the article but could have included many more artists!
“Even today, artists using the nude figure create a distance between the model and the viewer and convey a sense of modesty. The body, even when fully unclothed, is exposed modestly.”
To read the piece in it’s entirety click here.