The Korea Herald


‘Summer Love’: Artworks depict the lives of young artists

By Kim Hoo-ran

Published : July 15, 2019 - 17:37

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A desk with an old computer, a chair and a potted plant -- the room installation by Hwang Moon-jung does not require any sophisticated jargon to explain. You just need to sit and play the game installed on the computer: “Great Artist Maker” -- a remake of famous 1990s Japanese simulation game “Princess Maker.”

“Great Artist Maker” (2019) by Hwang Moon-jung (SongEun Art and Cultural Foundation) “Great Artist Maker” (2019) by Hwang Moon-jung (SongEun Art and Cultural Foundation)

“Great Artist Maker” has you arrange Hwang’s schedule and plan her activities to grow her career and get her recognized as a great artist.

Hwang’s installation is part of “Summer Love,” SongEun ArtSpace’s group exhibition showcasing the works of 16 young artists from South Korea who participated in the SongEun ArtCube program from 2017 to 2019.

“This work is based on my experience at the Delfina Foundation’s artist-in-residence program,” Hwang said.

“I started my career a little late. But I have completed about six artist-in-residence programs. It has been about one program per year,” Hwang said.

Hwang said she wanted to talk about life as a young artist because it is also part of her life.

Not wishing to take too serious an approach, she used the game platform for her artwork, which she enjoys playing.

“In dealing with the arts, it is difficult to find an answer. It is an area with abstract ideas. But in games, you always have answers and I feel like that’s what I like about playing games,” Hwang said.

The game does not have an ending just yet.

“I am thinking about holding an opening at an internet cafe with the complete version of the game,” Hwang said.

“Creature” (2019) by Lee Byung-chan (SongEun Art and Cultural Foundation) “Creature” (2019) by Lee Byung-chan (SongEun Art and Cultural Foundation)

Artist Lee Byung-chan expresses his emotions about living in a new satellite city with a large installation in the shape of a soft-bodied, octopus-like mollusk. The piece is from a series titled “Creature.”

“Years ago, I lived in Songdo, a highly planned commercial city built on manmade land,” Lee said. Numerous banners around the city announced the latest apartment sales. The advertisements indicated a steady flow of capital into the planned city, which caused him to feel alienated from the city.

Made mainly of plastic bags melded together by using a cigarette lighter, the installation is decorated with colorful LED lights and artificial flowers.

“My aunt was a shaman, and I used the colors that I remember from her room,” Lee said.

Yoo Young-jin explores a material that is easily found in old houses -- polyurethane, which is often used as insulation.

“In Seoul, if you look close enough, you can find houses that have used polyurethane to patch up cracks. They later swell up into these orange-brown bubbles,” Yoo said. The material is used because it is cheap and easy to apply.

“Unfamiliar Pattern” (2019) by Han Sang-a (SongEun Art and Cultural Foundation) “Unfamiliar Pattern” (2019) by Han Sang-a (SongEun Art and Cultural Foundation)

Artist Han Sang-a’s pieces revolve around traditional ink painting on clothes.

“The paintings are based on the emotions and experiences I had as a new mother who recently had a child,” Han said. “I cut the clothes with scissors, stitched them and hung them like laundry to make them appear like the domestic labor that preoccupies many women,” Han said.

Recalling her experience in a desert, Koo Eun-jung installed a set of objects on sand.

“There, I saw a scene that reminded me of one of my memories. It then triggered a series of other images, objects, people and experiences from the past. I wanted to map out that experience in my work,” Koo said.

A live performance that makes extensive use of sounds accompanies the installation work.

The exhibition runs through Sept. 28 at SongEun ArtSpace in Gangnam-gu.
By Shim Woo-hyun (