SEARCHING FOR WITNESS, JEONJU, SOUTH KOREA, 2020

 

This project aims to examine the power dynamics between urban regeneration projects, and art, concerning the closure of a red-light district ‘Sunmichon’. Sunmichon is a controversial place especially regarding the context of gentrification. As a participating artist and a witness to its problematic relation, I question the position of art and artist in the district, presenting five European paintings of the 18th-19th century. 

The five paintings are revelations of the power structure, described by the artist was a witness of the time. I have speculated that the composition of «The rapt of Proserpina, Joseph-Marie Vien, 1767» that had an influence on the next four paintings; «The Massacre at Chios, Eugène Delacroix, 1824», «Beating at Four Stakes in the Colonies, Marcel Antoine Verdier, 1849», «The death of the deer, Gustave Courbet, 1867», «The First Day of School, Johann Peter Hasenclever, 1852».

 

These paintings are composed of a figure on the right side who is about to commit violence towards on the opposite side, describing the power dynamic between male & female, conqueror & immigrant, whites & blacks, human & animal, and adult & child, as well as onlookers who are observing the violence. I identify myself to the onlookers inside the paintings and the artist who painted the work at the same time, as a witness of the political and economic structure involved with the district.

 

Veiling the figure with a red circle that corresponds to the position of onlookers on each painting, I printed out the paintings and installed them in the neighborhood such as on the walls of administrative agency, window prostitution building, women's rights center, and travel agency. Through the work, I invite the visitors to participate in this event to be a third-party witness, searching for onlookers in the paintings. 

 

 

 

 

* The permission of each image is granted to reproduce for publication by 5 institutions ; Musée de Grenoble/Ville de Grenoble(France), RMN-Grand Palais(Musée du Louvre,France), Musée des beaux- arts et d'archéologie, Besançon(France), The Menil collection, Houston(USA), Image Korea & sponsored by The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea and Jeonju municipal government.

 

 

 

 

​The rapt of Proserpina,Joseph-Marie Vien,1767, Musée de Grenoble

Installation view at 698-9 Seonosong-dong, Jeonju

( February 21 - March 06, 2020), as part of Print/Out,

Photo by Minkyoung Choi