Im Heung-soon. Staging the singularity of memory

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Im Heung-soon. Staging the singularity of memory
Im Heung-soon. Staging the singularity of memory

The powerful image that adorns the promotional poster for this exhibition – two people in the foreground with their heads covered in white cloth, arranged as if the person on the left, the one whose hand is visible, were telling a secret to the other – is taken from the film 'Factory Complex', from Korean filmmaker and visual artist Im Heung-soon. It's a wink to surrealist painter Magritte's 'The Lovers'. The beauty of this artistic reference lets the viewer breathe a bit after considering the tragic plot of 'Factory Complex', the first of the pieces screened in the gallery.

During its 95 minutes, the documentary film examines the precarious situation workers in South Korea have been put in for the last 40 years, coinciding with the country's strong economic growth and modernisation. The interviews with despondent exploited female employees working in disparate industries intertwine with lyrical presentations that portray the suffering and pain of generations of women.

In the adjoining hall, via a double projection that takes makes use of one of the corners of the space, the video installation 'Reincarnation' affects the traumatic memories of Vietnamese and Iranian women who have been victims of the wars in Vietnam, Iran and Iraq. Im explores, during the 24-minute film, their emotional scars, and contrasts them with the grief of the mothers who lost children in the wars. Again, the artist explores the diffuse areas of personal and collective memory of these women's immediate environment. The work doesn't shy from drama, but rather confronts it, without fanfare or dramatic effects, and reinforces it with poetry.

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