The Real DMZ: Artistic encounters through Korea’s demilitarized zone has been curated by Sunjung KIM and The Real DMZ Project, a contemporary art project based on research conducted on the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea. The exhibition features eight South Korean artists who address the reality of the division of the Korean peninsula – the persisting violence, tension and various perceptions of North Korea.
Given North Korea’s hermetic status as a nation, artists in the exhibition including Kyungah HAM, Onejoon CHE, and Seung Woo BACK, question the representations of North Korea that permeate the mainstream media, and provide new, inventive possibilities of imagining the North. Envisioning the DMZ itself, Hayoun KWON has produced a video based virtual walk-through of the DMZ based on accounts from a soldier stationed there, and Soyoung CHUNG, who participated in an artist-in-residency program at Yangji-ri, a village in the border area, presents an installation inspired by the lights she saw in the dark imagining they were signals from the North. Photographs by Hein-kuhn OH and Chankyong PARK feature young soldiers from the South and North respectively. Hein-kuhn OH’s portraits show conflicting moments of violence, anxiety and absurdity, and Chankyong PARK’s new video piece reveals the vulnerable, humanistic sides of North Korea through ordinary and tender moments of childhood. The exhibition also features new work by Yeondoo JUNG.
The Real DMZ is part of the Midlands Korea Season (led by NAE and Eastside Projects) and Korea/UK 2017-18, a national celebration of British and Korean art and culture. The show has been financially supported by Arts Council England and Arts Council Korea (ARKO).
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