Dates: 13 SEP – 3 NOV 2018
Venue: USA, New York, Tina Kim Gallery.
Park Chan-Kyong, multi-disciplinary artist utilises film, video and photography to examine the complex social and political history of South Korea. His work pays particular attention to Korea’s enduring folk traditions and shamanism as well as the profound impact of the Korean War and subsequent partition of North and South. On view 13 September–13 October 2018, the exhibition includes two video works and a series of photographs by the Seoul-based artist. This is Park’s second solo show in New York; his first exhibition at the gallery was in 2016.
Situated in the front gallery is Child Soldier (2017–2018), a series of photographs and film stills that depict North Korean soldiers doing everyday activities. While seemingly innocuous, Park’s images suggest that young soldiers in the North Korean People’s Army may not be as ideologically rigid as portrayed. Instead Park depicts the young men as ordinary, lazy and innocent, wandering in the forest, reading and listening to music. This reimagination of daily life forces the viewer to move beyond propagandistic depictions and confront the stark ideologies that govern contemporary Korean society. Child Soldier begs the question: Is there an image of North Korea that is free of ideology, politics, or war?
Gallery two features the critically acclaimed video Citizen’s Forest (2016), a three-channel installation that serves as an allegory of modern-day Korea. Evoking literary genres ranging from Asian gothic to heavy metal, the video chronicles major tragedies in the nation’s past such as the Donghak Peasant Revolution (1894), the Korean War (1950–1953), the Gwangju Uprising (1980) and the recent Sewol Ferry Disaster (2014). The work’s panoramic structure evokes traditional 'shan-su' (landscape) scroll paintings. This narrative format was inspired by two historical works by beloved Korean artists: Oh Yoon’s incomplete work The Lemures chronicles the many forgotten victims in Korean history and the poem by Kim Soo-young, Colossal Roots. In Citizen’s Forest, viewers are invited to accompany this ragtag group as they walk slowly through the forest; mixing history and fiction, the actors play musical instruments and impersonate the dead as they mourn the loss of their fellow citizens.
Park Chan-Kyong (b.1965) is a media artist, film director and writer. He graduated from Seoul National University in 1988 with a BFA in Painting, and the California Institute of the Arts with a MFA in Photography in 1995. Park served as the Artistic Director of the SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul in 2014. His major works include Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits (2013), Night Fishing (2011, co-directed by Park Chan-wook), Sindoan (2008), Power Passage (2004) and Sets (2000).
Park’s work has exhibited internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions including Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2017), Taipei Biennial (2016), Anyang Public Art Project (2016), Iniva, London (2015), Art Sonje Center, Seoul (2013), and Atelier Hermès, Seoul (2008, 2012). Park was awarded the Hermès Korea Art Award in 2004, and the Golden Bear for best short film at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2011 for Night Fishing.
His works are included in the collection of major art institutions including the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; KADIST, Paris and San Francisco; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, Nantes; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; Seoul Museum of Art; Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Ansan; and Art Sonje Center, Seoul.
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