Dukhoo is a Korean word that once upon a time had a negative connotation: a reclusive fanatic. However, with the recent wave of cool, smart "kidults" in the Korean adult population, the word is now almost bestowed with a positive light, onto those who are considered experts in the field they're ‘specialized’ in. To celebrate this cultural phenomenon and to formulate fresh perspectives, Buk-Seoul Museum of Art has taken the privilege to explore dukhoo-ism through 11 different artworks.
The exhibition begins with a question that all millennials may be amused to answer: “What kind of dukhoo are you?” You’ll be able to answer that through Ko Seong-bae’s The Kooh Maker. Ko is actually the editor-in-chief of The Kooh, a local magazine focusing on dukhoo cultures. With his extensive knowledge in the "subculture," he was able to put together a fun interactive installation that encompasses the whole first room of the exhibition hall. You begin with a roadmap graphically laid out on a wall which you follow according to characteristic descriptions leading you to one of four pamphlets. The pamphlets describe in-detail the type of dukhoo you are while also giving you a map of how to best navigate the artworks. Being an expert in the field, you can trust his judgment of the type of dukhoo you are. Unfortunately, translation is not available.
The rest of the exhibition examines varying approaches in revealing this rising subculture. Some works on display express a notion of obsession that permeates through dukhoo-ism. Cellphone Charms by Park Meena, for example, sculpturally portray the hobby of collecting in an exaggerated form. The densely clustered charms truly show how far dukhoos go to in presenting their love for a certain item. Other works take on a completely unexpected form. Take, for example, Sick Plant Clinic by kim Lee-park. The two plants on display are actually from a barber shop the artist frequents. He took in the plants that spent the harsh winters outdoors and were trying to revive the little life they had left in them. The red and purple hues feeding the plants are said to cater to the plants medical needs. His other projects also incorporate plants, showing his dedication to greenery. Overall, Project Dukhoo: Finding Flow is a curious and short exhibition that at first glance might be a little hard to understand. But you don’t have to try to look far for philosophical underpinnings behind each work. All you need to do is accept it for what it is and lightly enjoy the exhibition and an appreciation for the culture will follow. Afterall, dukhoo-ism is about realizing the obsession and hidden quality inside each and every one of us rather than exposing it to the world.