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Art performance invites 100 participants to read newspapers on stage

Newspapers in more than nine different languages, including The Korea Herald, were read aloud during the performance

By Hwang Joo-young

Published : Sept. 7, 2023 - 19:37

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Artist Sung Neung-kyung (center, back) performs Artist Sung Neung-kyung (center, back) performs "Reading Newspapers” at L'espace etnah's Lightroom Seoul hall, eastern Seoul, on Wednesday. (Hwang Joo-young/The Korea Herald)

Sung Neung-kyung, a 79-year-old conceptual artist known for his ongoing exploration of various mediums of communication like newspapers and photography, organized a unique performance art event on Wednesday.

Sung invited a hundred foreigners to join him on stage at L'espace etnah's Lightroom Seoul hall in eastern Seoul, for a collective art performance project, where they jointly read newspapers aloud as a group performance.

The Korea Herald newspapers were used for English-readers, alongside other newspapers of more than nine different languages, throughout the 30-minute-long performance titled, “Reading Newspapers.”

Participants at the performance represented diverse nationalities, including Spain, Germany, China, Russia, Brazil, India, the Philippines, US, the Netherlands and Poland.

At first, Sung held the newspaper and read it aloud. Then, he began cutting out some lines, captions and pictures from the newspaper.

When the spotlights were moved towards the 100 participants, they also held and read out loud from newspapers of different languages, and then cut out parts of the papers in the same way as Sung. English, French, Chinese, Spanish and Russian resonated on the stage.

First showcased in 1976, "Reading Newspapers" encapsulates Sung's distinctive artistic world that holds a unique place in the history of Korean contemporary art.

In its beginning, "Newspaper Reading" was Sung's physical expression of resistance against government censorship.

Lately, Sung has expanded "Reading Newspapers" into a collaborative performance by inviting participants and incorporating external factors such as the characteristics of the location and performance venue, and the racial, cultural and social backgrounds of the participants.

Gallery Hyundai, which sponsored Sung's "Reading Newspapers" performance, will upload a video recording of Wednesday's performance on its official website and social media.