East Contemporary

Arario: Hayoun Kwon “Si proche et pourtant si loin (English: So close yet so far)”

Shanghai, February 28 – May 5, 2019, http://www.arariogallery.com/

Arario Gallery had an installation by Hayoun Kwon. The topic was the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ). Different media were used to convey stories and impressions of the DMZ: Filming an architectural model, 3D animation with a narrated voiceover, a thermal-vision-like video loop showing guards walking around a constrained space, a VR environment accessible via a headset… It seemed that a lot of effort went into all of this, but maybe in vain.

Numerous artworks have been done around the DMZ topic, some good some less so. Even a whole art festival is dedicated to this topic. Unsurprisingly some of Kwon’s work was featured at the Real DMZ Project as well as in other shows on the Korean North – South subject previously. In these shows it might have been in a more fitting context than here. In a Shanghai commercial gallery it looked a bit out of place, crammed inside of a little white cube.

In the end the most interesting part of the installation were the “mines” made of a fragile grainy material in the entrance room. They looked a bit like the little sand sculptures that kids construct on the beach with the help of plastic forms and buckets. It was technologically simple, but it immediately engaged the audience and made them act in a cautious way.

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