Group Exhibition “The People of Kae Song Industrial Complex”

[Lee Boo-rok, Im Heung-soon, Yoo Soo]

The lives of the Korean people who worked at a singular place born out of large-scale joint economic strategies but closed by political tensions

Lying a short distance to the north of the military border that separates the two halves of the Korean Peninsula, the Kaesong Industrial Complex was in operation for more than ten years from 2004. It was a unique place where people from both sides of the border worked together, made possible with land and labor supplied by North Korea and technology and investment from South Korea. Though a symbol of cooperation between the two Koreas, it is currently closed due to ongoing tensions between the nations since 2016.

Held at Culture Station Seoul 284 in the summer of 2018, the exhibition “Kaesong Industrial Complex” examined the titular place not as a story of a large economic development told from the outside, but by rather focusing on the intimate communities that grew up among the individuals working at the site. In this way, the exhibition attempted to craft a new portrait of the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Works by three artists from the original Seoul exhibition are here presented in Kyoto.

In Lee Boo-rok’s replica of a garment factory, Robo Cafe, rows of tables with sewing machines fill the space, covered in tablecloths on which slogans about productivity are being sewn. Im Heung-soon’s video work Brothers Peak portrays the artist climbing up a mountain while carrying a coffin, accompanied by the resonant singing of the Seoul-based gay chorus G-Voice and Lee Hyang, an accordion player who is a North Korean defector. In his installation, Yoo Soo shows actual gifts exchanged between North and South workers, asking us to reflect on the fundamental meaning of the Kaesong Industrial Complex by exaimining the gifted items.

How will these seeds, cultivated through the interchange of people from the north and south during the limited period of time when it was possible to cross the border, grow and develop in the future?

Group Exhibition “The People of Kaesong Industrial Complex”, 2019, Kyoto Art Center. Photo by Takeru Koroda, Courtesy of Kyoto Experiment Group Exhibition “The People of Kaesong Industrial Complex”, 2019, Kyoto Art Center. Photo by Takeru Koroda, Courtesy of Kyoto Experiment Group Exhibition “The People of Kaesong Industrial Complex”, 2019, Kyoto Art Center. Photo by Takeru Koroda, Courtesy of Kyoto Experiment Group Exhibition “The People of Kaesong Industrial Complex”, 2019, Kyoto Art Center. Photo by Takeru Koroda, Courtesy of Kyoto Experiment Group Exhibition “The People of Kaesong Industrial Complex”, 2019, Kyoto Art Center. Photo by Takeru Koroda, Courtesy of Kyoto Experiment Group Exhibition “The People of Kaesong Industrial Complex”, 2019, Kyoto Art Center. Photo by Takeru Koroda, Courtesy of Kyoto Experiment Group Exhibition “The People of Kaesong Industrial Complex”, 2019, Kyoto Art Center. Photo by Takeru Koroda, Courtesy of Kyoto Experiment Group Exhibition “The People of Kaesong Industrial Complex”, 2019, Kyoto Art Center. Photo by Takeru Koroda, Courtesy of Kyoto Experiment Group Exhibition “The People of Kaesong Industrial Complex”, 2019, Kyoto Art Center. Photo by Takeru Koroda, Courtesy of Kyoto Experiment
YEAR
2019
DATES
10.5(sat)-10.27(sun)
VENUE
Auditorium, Japanese-style Hall, South Gallery
and other locations, Kyoto Art Center
CITY
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
CATEGORY
DOWNLOAD
Brochure

Lee Boo-rok

Lee Boo-rok (b. 1971) is an artist based in Seoul, South Korean. He studied Oriental Painting at Seoul National University. Boo-rok’s work explores language and symbol, avatar and ego, and relational identities within society through the medium of social media, installation, video and publications. As well as exhibiting domestically and internationally, his work is part of permanent collections at Seoul Museum of Art, Gwangju Museum of Art and Art Bank of National Museum of Contemporary Art.

Im Heung-soon

Im Heung Soon (b.1969) is an artist and filmmaker based in Seoul and Jeju Island. His work explores the lives of people who are marginalized in social, political, capitalist and national contexts through different visual mediums such as photography, installations and cinema. He has also directed several feature films such as Factory Complex (2014/2015), Reborn (2017) and Things that Do Us Part (2018). Recently, his works have been exhibited at Sharjah Biennale (2015), MoMA PS1, The National Art Center Tokyo, Tate Modern, Lincoln Center and Pompidou Centre among others. In 2015 his work Factory Complex was awarded the Silver Lion at the 56th Venice Biennale.

Yoo Soo

Yoo soo studied photography at university and went on to work as a photo journalist at Minjog21 before becoming an artist. He organized and participated in the exhibition “Pyeongyang people visit to Seoul” at Press Center in Seoul and Democracy park in Busan in May 2006. Recently he has also organized “Special Exhibition in Pyeongchang on the South-North Korean Joint Excavation of the Manwoldae Palace at Gaeseong” and participated in “Gaeseong Industrial Complex” at Culture Station Seoul 284.

CuratorPark Carey
Assistant CuratorKim Tae-hyun
ArtistLee Boo-rok, Im Heung-soon, Yoo Soo
CoordinatorKei Minoura, Mayumi Yamamoto (Kyoto Art Center)
Equipment SupportSunmishin, Sewing Machine Manufacturers' Cooperative Association of Kyoto, TNL DASAN ART Co., Ltd.
In co-operation withThe Archival Research Center of Kyoto City University of Arts
Supported byKorea Arts Management Service, CENTER STAGE KOREA, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism
Presented byKyoto Experiment, Kyoto Art Center