A Resource for Performing Artists, Scholars and Audiences.
Art Sonje Center is pleased to present the exhibition REAL DMZ PROJECT 2015 from August 29th to November 29th, 2015. As the forth exhibition since the first exhibition held in 2012, the REAL DMZ PROJECT 2015 largely constitutes of two exhibitions, held in the downtown town of Dongsong in Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do, and at Art Sonje Center in Seoul. Unlike previous projects which centered around relatively hard-to-access sites near the Civilian Control Line, the ten-day exhibition REAL DMZ PROJECT 2015: Lived Time of Dongsong held in Dongsong that preceded the exhibition at Art Sonje Center extended its geographical parameter to the downtown area where commercial and cultural facilities are concentrated, and strove to engage with the local community at a more intimate level. The exhibition at Art Sonje Center is an expansion from the exhibition in Dongsong, and it attempts to raise questions on the DMZ area where the history of the past and the life of the present, and tension and daily life coexist. For the exhibition, four organizers and fifty-three artists/ teams reflected upon the different site-specificity of the two sites of DMZ border area in Cheorwon and the art museum in Seoul, and conceptualized the exhibition according to the different contextual components such as the kind of audience and the public element of the space.
The exhibition at Art Sonje Center presents works by local and international artists who have performed long-term researches on the regionality and the history of the DMZ or have experimented with how contemporary art can intervene with the local community of the DMZ border area through direct communication with the residents. For the past few years, Minouk Lim has been working on a project that aims to unearth documentations of 300 people who were reportedly massacred in the former Waterworks Bureau in Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do after tge Korean War. In December 2014, she conducted a performance that took place on the bus to Cheorwon from Seoul and at the Waterworks Bureau site, and Lim presents the process of tracing the 300 deceased in an archive form for this year’s exhibition. In 2008, Tatsuo Miyajima carried out a public workshop at the Taepung Observatory and in Imjingak in Paju in the DMZ border area in Gyeonggi-do. For the workshop, the participants chose their own meaningful number and had it painted on their bodies. For the exhibition, Miyajima presents photographic works that was taken during the workshop. Magnus Bärtås presents a new work, in which he juxtaposed videos filmed from The Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum in Pyeogyang, North Korea and the War Memorial in Yongsan, South Korea, and compared how the two countries remember the Korean War. The German writer Ingo Niermann published Solution 264-274: Drill Nation, the 11 scenarios of the unified Korea, based on his research through visits to North and South Korea. In the REAL DMZ PROJECT 2014, Niermann presented a reading of the first chapter of the book that he was still writing at the time, and this year, he presents the officially published book for the exhibition.
The exhibition at Art Sonje Center extends the exhibition to spaces inside and around the museum and introduces works of various forms including painting, photography, video, sound, site-specific installation, and performance. In the outside area in front of Hanok, an architect Dongsei Kim and an artist Soyoung Chung reconfigure and use different installation method for their pair of “terminals,” each of which was installed in Cheorwon Bus Terminal and Cheorwon Catholic Church. Inside Hanok, Kim Jipyeong presents new interpretations of the eight beautiful sceneries of Cheorwon as a video and as a series of paintings in the form of Korean traditional folding screens. In addition, on the first floor many video works address both virtual and real situations around the DMZ. Also, the “Dongsong Archive” room presents images of the bygone days of Cheorwon and the images of present-day Cheorwon.
Various public programs will also take place in conjunction with the exhibition. The Performance Show by a choreographer Maria Hassabi will be held at the opening of the exhibition on August 28th, and talk programs of participating artists and curators will also be organized during the exhibition period. The year 2015 commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Korea’s independence from Japan and also the division of the Korean peninsula. Through the works that shed light on the history, meaning, landscape, everyday scenes, and local residents of the border area of the DMZ, which seems so close yet so distant to us, the REAL DMZ PROJECT offers an opportunity for the audience in Seoul to interpret and understand the DMZ and its border area in Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do. Furthermore, the Project attempts to offer a platform that encourages discourses on the contemporary meaning of the DMZ in the Korean peninsula where the confrontation between North Korea and South Korea still is ongoing.