Period/ 2017.04.28(Fri) ~ 2017.07.09(Sun)
Venue/ Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art
Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation
Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art
Samhwa Paints, SandollCloud
Keem Young-gle, KIM insook, Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, Jongheon Bae, Optical Race, JeongMee Yoon, Soyung Lee, Eunu Lee, Donghwan Jo + Haejun Jo, Sekyun Ju, GIGISUE, Chan Hau Chun, Sim Chi Yin, Shao Yinong + Mu Chen
Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art opens its doors to the exhibition Family Report in May, which is known as “family month” in South Korea. A family is a social structure that’s existence is as old as human history. As society has experienced change, the concepts and forms of a family has also changed, due to the direct correlation between them. Family Report examines how the definition of family has changed in this rapidly developing modern society through contemporary artworks which can be categorized under the theme of ‘family,’ providing viewers an opportunity to reflect on the value and meaning of family, which has been unaffected by time. In springtime when the air is full of the refreshing smell of flowers, the exhibition at Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art anticipates your show of support and attendance.
KIM insookThe artist is third generation Korean-Japanese who was born from a father who is originally from Joseon and a Japanese mother, and has been focusing on the lives of people who live on the boundary between three countries’ cultures, generations and changes in the society. SAIESO: between Two Koreas & Japan, Daily Life is a photograph depicting an ideal family from the traditional perspective, a family of three generations, and discusses the topics which affect the generations between Korea and Japan through capturing typical scenes of the everyday life of a Korean-Japanese family. The Real Wedding Ceremony and House to Home, Come On Ceremony make people reflect on how a new family is born and extended through the records of the artist’s wedding, celebrated twice by following the wedding cultures of three countries and resulting in a new wedding ceremony. In this wedding, people who were gathered to support the bride and groom became a family by fulfilling the traditional ceremony together. The artist throws an ontological question as to ‘what a family is supposed to be’ to us.
JeongMee YoonThe artist who has developed an interest in the classification system of the reproduction of social conventions and ideology through photography, attempts to show specific social phenomena through capturing diverse objects of the same subject within a similar composition. The Animal Companions series originated from the artist’s dog called Mong-E, who was treated as the most precious and youngest son in her house. She first captured the moment of her acquaintances with their pet, and extended her object from their introduction and by advertising on SNS. By depicting people with their pets, such as a dog, cat, rabbit, turtle and iguana, the Animal Companions series is not mere photography of but rather today’s townies who live with their pets and the diversity of the society in which they live. The information provided in the title, such as the name of the main character’s town, specific place name of the background, and number of family members, also allow people to estimate the form of a family, type of residence, and lifestyle in the city of Korea.
Jongheon BaeThe artist who has put what is happening around him as the subject of his practice records the changes of his life and his responses to them. His works can be seen as the very personal confessions of an artist who is also a father of two kids, husband, and head of household. At the same time, his work can cause people to realize that a family, a microcosm of society, brings happiness and unhappiness, as well as inherent big and small conflicts. A Giant depicts the time that a new baby is born and the life of his parents has to be concentrated on that baby. A Beautiful Woman is a work completed from a husband’s point of view, when his wife goes through a difficult time due to toxemia during pregnancy, and he cannot do anything for her. Patriarch captures the image of the head of household within a family in modern day society, where its sense of powerful authority and status no longer exist. The Photo of a Family with the Collar of Elizabeth, a large family photograph of the artist’s four family members with their dog ‘San-E’, shows the image of a family in modern society who has been living between desires and social suppression through looking separately at the world from every viewpoint of his family members.
Shao Yinong + Mu ChenThe artists have been focusing on the contemporary history of China, as a country undergoing the most tumultuous change in the globe. Shao Yinong and Mu Chen, as a married couple, inquire into the meaning of family from China’s traditional perspective. The Family Register series is a familiar family portrait for most Chinese in their thirties or thereon. The generation of the parents in the photograph has experienced China’s most rapid changes, exposed to socialist labor and education, as well as capitalist labor and market mechanism over time. However, the progenies only know the capitalist market and its driving logic. The artists show this generation gap through a panoramic family history fashioned after traditional Chinese records of genealogy. The top portion of the characters’ attire-Mao jacket and ‘construction’ jacket-harbor socialist symbolism, whereas the bottom portions of their accouterments-skirts, shoes, and suits-point to the reality of our time in the market economy. This design scheme indicates social relations, emphasis on family, patriarchy, and clan codes of China’s traditional family structure.
Sim Chi YinCapturing the lives of urban migrants who came to the city riding the tide of economic development, The Rat Tribe records the lives of people who live in underground bunkers in Beijing as part of a project that unfolded from 2010 to 2015. These people, who collectively reside in government-provided underground bunkers or other subterranean abodes are called the “rat tribe.” They cohabit personal spaces of approximately 13m2, and share a kitchen and a bathroom. The Chinese government mandated the construction of underground bunkers for all newly built structures in Beijing from the 1950s and thereon as a cautionary measure for war. The bunkers, left empty for a prolonged period after the conclusion of the Cold War, became a new refuge for migrants who came to the city to ride the tide of China’s rapid development. Cities experienced large-scale influx following the Economic Reform in 1990, causing serious shortage of residential space within the city while rural areas suffered from major loss of labor force. The migrants produced a new form of family – a single member family that came to being as the result of the new social system. The families form and dissolve over short periods of time. The artists provide a direct portrayal of this new family form through recorded footage and interviews, featuring this newly arisen familial trend.
Sekyun JuThe artist has sought his own system of meaning through his practice which portrays ‘changeable meanings’ and ‘definitions without standards’ by twisting the accomplished standards of modern society where everything seems doubtful. The issues between traditional and criterion, symbols and reproduction, awareness and misconception, and etc. have been discussed through diverse experimental methods with flags, pattern design, ceramics and calligraphy, and after the Text Jar series, his interest in public symbols had moved to a personal system of meaning. In the Text Jar series, the artist rotated the words, which his parents and he discussed together around a kitchen table in his teenage years, helping him live wisely to make forms, and he made ceramics in such forms. They resulted in objects which combine their physicality with the movement of thoughts. As an extension of the Text Jar series, Dinner portrays the time when the artist enjoyed dinner with his parents in their hometown. The artist’s mother prepared dinner out of love, making dishes which brought specific values to life, and a family gathered to have a dinner together. The artist examines a family’s very typical actions —eating dinner together—from a new point of view, and reflects on the meaning of a family once again.
Donghwan Jo + Haejun JoThe artist (Haejun Jo) has collaborated with his father, Donghwan Jo, who originally wanted to be an artist, but has had to work as an art teacher in order to make a living, and produced a work which interpreted the movement and flow of Korea’s history from a microscopic viewpoint as a result. The documentary drawing, which records the memories of his father who has lead a difficult life, truly portrays the turbulent changes within Korean modern history. Scenery of Between was inspired by the unbelievable story about a goblin and UFO, which was told to the artist by his father and sister. The recent work in which mutual physical acts are added on top of previous characteristics, focus on oral statements and conversations, revealing the different viewpoints between the artist and his father by causing real and unreal objects to meet in order to portray a ‘scenery of between.’
Soyung LeeThe artist, whose works have been based on interviews, has developed several projects under subjects such as weakness, deprivation, migration and exile, and diaspora through stay\-ing in different countries including Finland, Kazakhstan, Laos, Myanmar, and Shanghai. Have you ever asked? is a moving image which delivers the conversations which the artist has had with her parents on paper through the mouths of actors who played the role of parents and their children, all from three different generations. The context of the conversations with her parents have a distance from what the artist used to discuss her practice, but this fact reveals the inner world of the artist. The artist throws questions which people do not normally ask their parents, such as when was the loneliest moment in their life, their inferiority complex, the most memorable house according to their dream, their viewpoint on themselves as parents, and etc. In the answers which the artist’s parents carefully wrote down, a story of a person and a story of a family are generalized to the story of our society.
GIGISUEThe artist discusses the presence and absence of a father based on her own experiences in her practice, resulting in various mediums including painting, drawing sculpture, installation, and moving images. The artist has revealed her psychological scars from experiences she had within her family, and has cured and overcomes her tribulations by demonstrating artistic introspection about the big and heavy title of ‘father’ who has been such a pervading symbol of power throughout society. The Father Still Life series paradoxically presents the presence and absence of the artists father who now exists only in her memory, putting images which are reminiscent of the doodles she used to do with her father on top of Vanitas, a category of symbolic works of art, especially those associated with the still life paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries. Similar Figure 3 talks about inherited connections between the art\-ist and her father, which have eventually been revealed even though she tries to conceal them through the technique of decalcomanie. In Missing One, the artist repeats a vanished and ironical action, looking for a penis in her body in her father’s shabby long johns, as if she is defying her father, who wanted to have a son rather than a daughter. Through a series of her practice, the artist discusses her father who still has influence on her life, but it is also about a father in general and the society in which we are living.
Kelvin Kyung Kun ParkThe artist, who is simultaneously working as a media artist and documentary filmmaker, has developed his practice in seeking to re-identify with the original form of Korean men by using the subject of iron- one of the elements of the collective identity of Korea’s modern and contemporary history- in his multichannel video work and film. The first project is Cheonggyecheon Medley. It records the daily lives of people who run small iron, casting, and mold factories nearby Cheonggyecheon before being forced out of their old towns by the city’s Cheonggyecheon Restoration Business. Cheonggyecheon, where the leading forces of 1960’s and 1970’s industrialization which performed the miracle of Han River by advocating Economic First Policy were gathered, was a place where Korea’s modern and contemporary history was compressed. Unlike the documentary film that was in the format of a letter which was reaching out to the artist’s deceased grandfather, the five channel video installation evokes great feelings and surrealistic atmosphere with fantastic images and the sound of iron from a machine, stills from the movie Starfish by Sangok Sin, and stills from the news which show Korea’s industrial site between the 1960’s and 1970’s. The images of iron, which are rough, hard and cold but are more easily melted than gold, silver and copper, are similar to Korean men or Korea’s identity of fatherhood in general, which seems to be strong and unwavering but is actually very vulnerable.
Chan Hau Chun32+4 is an autobiographical documentary film, in which the artist records her family history. She investigates unknown elements in her family’s life and history by visiting and interviewing her parents, with whom she has been living apart. Through piercing questions, the artist delves into her parents’ failed marriage, the tension between her biological and step fathers, and the oppressive relationship between her biological father and her mother. While this story mainly focuses on women and mothers who are left traumatized by traditional patriarchy, and in turn patriarchs who are driven to corners by China’s rapidly shifting capitalist economy, it is also an apt portrayal of the problems most families struggle within in contemporary China.
Keem Young-gleThe artist, who majored in Literature and Fine Art, has focused on accumulated time rather than moments through works which study literary texts as visual objects. Using diverse kinds of texts and bringing language into visual art, the works have been produced in various forms such as book, moving image, photography, and installation in the aim of giving birth to inter-media art, which can also be known as ‘artistic reading.’ Cares of Family Man carefully studies the head of a head of household, whose position has socially and economically been forced out from Korean society in 1990’s through the words which depict the psychology of a déclassé man in the time of IMF, who was once from the middle class. Until We Become Diamonds depicts the bitterness of modern society where a form of hierarchy exists, which is symbolized from a stone to diamond by borrowing a letter, sent by a daughter to her father who does not return home after becoming bankrupt. The artist draws an anonymous psychological map through words or stories in which fiction and truth are mixed up.
Eunu LeeThe artist, who pays attention on how an object is used and forms a relationship with other objects, creates a new object by collecting, classifying and editing data. In 300,000,000 KRW, Korea, 2010, the artist classified 1,167 floor plans of apartments in South Korea which cost around 300,000,000 KRW under the category of size, real transaction price and year of completion, and recombined that data to form an art book. A Specific Item is a work of installation using hardwood and glass like transparent, embossed, colored and wired sheets of glass to represent a specific structure deducted from the floor plans of apartments in diverse sizes in a capital area. That glass across the inside and outside of the structure divide the space while cutting off the inside from the outside. An apartment is the common residence typical of a modern family. Through two works, the desires of the middle class- which are symbolized through an apartment- and the current address of family in modern society can be read.
Optical RaceOptical Race is a project group which is composed of graphic designers and freelance artists who majored in architecture that has worked together to visualize diagrams and graphs of statistical analysis pertaining to projects on social issues. The group, in attempting to understand the problems which face families residing in cities since 2013, focuses on data facing the generations of the baby-boomers and echo-boomers (the children of baby boomers). Family Life Cycle traces the cycles of education, job seeking, getting married, having children and becoming homeowners by extracting the year of birth from the most statistically significant women’s group representing each generation, and including data of the parents and husbands of the women representatives of the group. Each life cycle of these generations have their own timing, recognizing the different social scenes which contrast to contemporary times where there are identifiable differences in terms of the age ranges when people secure their careers and become homeowners.