Park invites viewers ‘beyond doors’
Artist Park Yoon-young presents new pieces at her solo exhibition “YOU, Live!” at the Ilmin Museum of Art in downtown Seoul. This is the artist’s first exhibition in Korea in nine years.
Park majored in Oriental Painting at university, but explored new creative outlets by directing films and writing scenarios. She received the Hermes Foundation Misulsang in 2009.
“Twelve Door Handles” is a multidisciplinary piece that incorporates writing, video, sound, drawing, sculpture and more. Visitors explore a whimsical setting, following a script of 12 mixed timelines.
The artist said her background influences her work.
“I studied Oriental Painting and I come from a Christian family. I read the Bible every morning and evening and it is natural for me to take an interest in Armageddon,” Park said. So she researched modern issues such as the Chernobyl disaster, the 2011 Tohoku tsunami and the United Kingdom’s intervention in Libya.
“There are some images that linger even after time goes by. It could be a scene from a movie, a line from a book or a marble my niece gave me. Such images are jumbled together in my head and I sometimes have to organize them anyhow. It could be text or image,” Park explained.
“Some images strike up a conversation with me. In this case, I started to write a tale of me and a whale after seeing Tacita Dean’s The Story of Minke the Whale. Then I saw the image of Alan Kurdi and interviews of his parents. I replaced myself with a child named Noah and they began to talk to each other as the whale came out from the sea.”
The music played throughout the exhibition space is also inspired by Park’s research. She got the idea from Operation Ellamy, the codename for the United Kingdom’s participation in the 2011 military intervention in Libya, and transformed it into tetrachord, the ancient Greek music scale, and performed it on cello.
On the first floor, visitors can take part in a postdramatic theater piece titled, “Your Supper,” created by Im Hyoung-jin of the Theaterraum: der philosophierende Korper, inspired by Park’s scenario.
Performed every 30 minutes during the exhibition period, 12 participants are asked to wear headsets and follow instructions from the audio guide.
The participants can take a look around the set and answer simple questions such as whether they prefer cigarettes or alcohol and use soap or shower gel.
Those who don’t want to join the performance can watch the participants through monitors.
Im said he took inspiration from some of the main motifs from “Twelve Door Handles” — war, children and daily life.
“I tried to look for links between my work and Park’s scenario. Alan Kurdi’s picture also made me think a lot. We know how we should live, but how we actually live can clash with the ideal. I want people to experience such moments,” Im said.
The items mentioned in the questionnaire are produced using child labor. “As I looked into child labor and war issues, I realized that we should respect children as humans, not just protect them because they are young and weak,” Im said.
Cho Ju-hyun, chief curator at Ilmin Museum of Art, said this exhibition is completed by visitors’ participation. “It is social art, combining games and politics,” Cho said. The exhibition runs through Jan. 12.
Park Yoon-young’s “Twelve-Door Handles,” left, and “Twelve-Door Handles” are on view at Ilmin Museum of Art in Seoul.