“Don’t Care If You Give Me That Evil Eye” (Doosan Gallery)
Three young women curators were curious about how Chang Jia’s works would be interpreted in 2020 after they received the spotlight for dealing with discrimination against women in the early 2000s, when gender issues were still considered an uncomfortable topic.
Stepping into the Doosan Gallery in Seoul, which is holding the exhibition “Don’t Care If You Give Me That Evil Eye,” one is overwhelmed by the wide range of media dealing with female bodies, cult films and fabrics -- on which Shakespeare’s “Song of Love” is written in cow’s blood.
Chang Jia was one of the sponsored artists of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in 2014. Utilizing the human body, she addresses social taboos through performance, video, installation and photography, but her works have not been dealt with much in Korea since, even as she has participated in overseas exhibitions.
The artist’s three-minute video, “Physical Requirements for Being an Artist – Enjoy Yourself in Every Condition,” filmed in 2000, built her reputation as an artist. In the film, eggs are thrown at her head and arms throw her head against a wall and pull at her hair. The film shows how difficult it is to work as a female artist touching on gender taboos in Korea in the early 2000s.
Chang Jia’s “Physical Requirements for Being an Artist - Enjoy Yourself in Every Condition” (YouTube)
“As feminism becomes an issue, we wanted to know how works by Chang Jia, who is considered a pioneer feminist artist, would be interpreted by the people in 2020,” said curator Park Ji-hyung, who focused on texts and writing in Chang’s works. “It seems social solidarity among young female artists has strengthened recently and social issues such as women’s right to abortion are coming to the attention of many artists.”
The social discussion about feminism has surfaced recently as the novel “Kim Ji-young, Born 1982,” as well as the movie based on the novel, became a hit in the country coinciding with the #MeToo movement. More galleries are now turning to feminism and dealing with social issues about women.
Through the curatorial collaboration, the three curators -- Park Suzy, Park Ji-hyung and Cheon Meerim, all of whom who are all in their 30s -- wanted to bring up female issues through Chang, who is now in her 40s. The three curators worked as a team while offering their own critical perspectives about the artist’s works.
The exhibition is part of the Doosan Curator Workshop that aims to support young Korean curators. The exhibition provides captions and subtitles to the videos in English. The exhibition runs until Saturday.
“Song of Love” and “Red Drawing” by Chang Jia (Doosan Gallery)