Tina Kim Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new video work by Korean artist Yeondoo Jung. Comprised of six dual-channel videos Handmade Memories continues the artist’s ongoing investigation into the subjective instability of memory as well as the tenuous authenticity of mechanically-produced images.
For this project, Jung has interviewed six elderly strangers who he randomly encountered in parks around Seoul. His opening line – ‘What is the most memorable experience of your life?’ – successfully taps into the pathos of an aging generation that lived through the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910 – 1945) and the Korean War (1950 – 1953). For large segments of this demographic basic necessities such as food and shelter were in short supply as was adequate education. Jung’s interviews teeter precipitously between truth and fiction: some reveal obvious fabrication and embellishment while others border on confessionals, revealing a tension that speaks poignantly to the psychological damage levied on the country’s collective psyche and the fantasies that were invented by so many as a coping mechanism. The interviewees’ dreams – which for the most part have gone unfulfilled – are quick to surface and are laid bare before Jung’s lens.
In an effort to both expose these discrepancies and pay tribute to this generation’s experiences, Jung has reconstructed the pivotal location from each story in an empty soundstage using homemade sets and rudimentary props. First employed in his 2007 film Documentary Nostalgia, this method of using the stage to frame a fictional narrative has become a signature strategy of the artist and is here employed to stunning effect — his carefully choreographed trompe l’oeil underscores the disjuncture between fact and fantasy. This chasm is further heightened by presenting the (re)created locations adjacent to the interviews, a juxtaposition that highlights their sense of nostalgia and forces the viewer to question the authenticity of these individuals’ experiences, as well as their own.
One of the most prominent artists working in Korea today, Jung was born in 1969 in Jinju, South Korea and received his MFA from Goldsmiths College in 1997. He is the recipient of the 2007 Artist of the Year Award, given annually by the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul. He has had solo exhibitions in Asia, Europe as well as the United States and his works have also been shown in numerous museums and biennales worldwide, including the 51st Venice Biennale and the Liverpool Biennale in 2008. His photographs and videos can be found in important collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the National Museum of Contemporary Art (Seoul), The Essl Museum of Contemporary Art (Vienna), and the RISD Museum (Providence, RI).