Press release: Sojung Jun, Green Screen
CIRCA PRESENTS SOJUNG JUN’S DREAMLIKE VISION OF UTOPIA IN THE BORDERLANDS BETWEEN SOUTH AND NORTH KOREA
Press Release, 1-31 August 2021
CIRCA, Piccadilly Circus, W1
Preview the films here
Seoul-based artist Sojung Jun transfigures space and time to awaken a dreamlike vision of Korea as a re-united ecotopia. Curated this month by Josef O’Connor in collaboration with the Seoul Museum of Art, Jun’s two films demonstrate the potential for public art to overcome ideological and political conflicts with artistic imagination.
Appearing online and presented daily across a global network of screens in London, Tokyo and Seoul, this exhibition explores the tensions inherent in the act of translating history, culture and time with the interwoven presentation of two major works: Green Screen (2021) casting light on the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas ‘with pervading senses of frustration and anticipation’ either side of Early Arrival of Future (2015), a landmark ten-minute musical performance between South and North Korean pianists, which will be presented only once at the midpoint of the month, 16 August, in its full entirety. Jun, the 18th laureate of the Hermès Foundation Missulsang, a biannual prize for Korea’s most promising artists, explains:
“These two works question the senses that the experience of division and boundaries bring to life. At the same time, they cross the axis of time and continue to recalibrate the present in relation to the past. This CIRCA project hopes to reflect on the scenes of conflict that lies beyond the division of the two Koreas and, therefore, encourage recollection of the sense of coexistence and solidarity.”
Filmed along the border of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) over the last month, Green Screen considers the potential of a human – vacated or intermediate landscape. Jun assembled a vivid, multi-perspectival picture of the DMZ, a 155-mile-long, 2.5-mile-wide strip of land that has been virtually untouched by humans for more than six decades, after gaining access in June 2021 to the adjacent Civilian Control Area guarded by the South Korean army.
A symbol of suffering and division, the DMZ became an unintentional wildlife sanctuary when the two Koreas withdrew following the armistice at the conclusion of the Korean War of 1950-53. In recent years, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has begun working with UNESCO to list the DMZ as a World Heritage Site. Drawing inspiration from ‘Mongyudowondo’ (below) a 15th Century painting based on a Korean Prince’s dream of a journey into a land of peach blossom trees, Green Screen focuses on ‘the site’s potential as a gap or a twilight zone while giving due attention to the power of nature.’
Presented on 16 August, Jun’s landmark Early Arrival of Future stages a duet between North Korean pianist Kim Cheol-woong and South Korean pianist Uhm Eun-kyung. Through this, the artist asks what kind of meanings art can have in different societies. Jun notes: “‘Early Arrival of Future’ envisages a time that has not yet arrived. In this term that the North Korean defectors who have settled in the South use to refer to a moment of reunification, the “future” is not only a time yet to arrive but also a time difficult to reach.”
Visitors attending these CIRCA presentations are encouraged to bring headphones:
- London, Piccadilly Lights at 20:21 BST
- Seoul, Coex K-POP Square at 20:21 KST
- Tokyo, Yunika Vision, Shinjuku at 09:00 JST
- Online via CIRCA.ART at 20:21 BST
*Early Arrival of Future will begin at 20:15 KST on 16 August in Seoul, Coex K-POP Square
“Artist Jun So Jung’s work reminds us that division is not a regional issue in the Korean Peninsula, but a human issue that has been present in the ubiquitous flow of world history. In the paradoxical landscape in her works, where the beautiful nature of the Demilitarized Zone coexists with the invisible political tensions, or the two pianists whose collaboration repeatedly shows intimacy in communication and sensitive confrontation through music, we find meaning by resonating with the contradiction in our reality that reaffirms how closely the world has been connected as revealed by the Covid-19, where familiar human contact is prohibited.” Wonseok Koh, Chief Curator and Head of Exhibition Division, Seoul Museum of Art
“This work embodies and exemplifies everything that CIRCA stands to represent as a platform. In an era of heightened divisions, between individuals and groups within the global society, we are honoured to present Jun’s work as a shining example of art’s potential to evade and overcome boundaries of conflict and geographical separation. Both these landmark works not only transcend the fiercest geopolitical divisions, they present to us all a glimpse of public art’s ever-present power to forge moments of unity.” Josef O’Connor, Artistic Director, CIRCA
“We are delighted that this newly commissioned work by Sojung Jun will be presented in the capitals of the UK, Korea and Japan. Her new film reveals the insightful promise and creativity that young Korean artists are now producing across all genres. We are especially grateful to be able to participate in this public art programme during what has been a difficult time for artists across the world. We’d like to express our gratitude to all the partners who have supported this project and of course the artist for producing this fine work.” Dr Jungwoo Lee, Director, KCCUK
Jun is creating a limited edition print, available to purchase for £100 (+VAT where applicable) on the CIRCA website until 31 August 2021. 70% of profits from #CIRCAECONOMY print sales are circulated back into helping build an economy that commissions new public art in our communities, nurtures more diverse cultural industries, and supports emerging creative potential with the distribution of cash grants to artists and institutions. For more info, click here.
Presented this month in partnership with The Korean Cultural Centre U.K. and The Seoul Museum of Art this exhibition is part of CIRCA’s commitment to give a free public platform to emerging and established artists. Since launching in October 2020, the pioneering platform has presented major new work from artists including Ai Weiwei, Cauleen Smith, Tony Cokes, Patti Smith and David Hockney.
Sojung Jun (b.1982, Busan) is an artist based in Seoul, South Korea. She has received her BFA in Sculpture from Seoul National University and MFA in Media Art from the Graduate School of Communication & Art at Yonsei University. Using the language of video and writing, the artist is interested in creating a nonlinear space-time to awake a new awareness of history and the present or in how the changes made in physical boundaries penetrate daily sensorial experiences. In particular, she has produced works that weave and crisscross with her personal experiences by paying attention to people standing on the boundary amid the ruins of modernity and invisible voices. She has newly established what she has fragmented through interviews, historical materials and narratives appropriated from classical texts, and carries out experiments intersecting personal, psychological and aesthetic factors with political ones in life.
Launched in Piccadilly Circus in 2020, CIRCA is a pioneering digital art platform that presents new ideas every evening at 20:21, both online and on a global network of screens in London, Tokyo and Seoul.
Rooted in time and bringing people together, each month CIRCA invites an artist, in partnership with Piccadilly Lights, to create a new work that considers our world circa 2021. Since launching in October 2020, CIRCA has commissioned new work from rising and established names including Ai Weiwei, Cauleen Smith, Eddie Peake, Anne Imhof, Patti Smith, Tony Cokes, Emma Talbot, Vivienne Westwood, James Barnor, and David Hockney.
Created by artist Josef O’Connor, CIRCA offers an innovative new way for the public to engage with art and support creative communities, through the sale of limited edition prints. This September, CIRCA is partnering with Dazed to transform an artist’s life with a #CIRCAECONOMY fund of £30,000 being awarded to the winner of their Class of 2021 showcase.
Since 2008, Korean Cultural Centre UK (KCCUK) has been dedicated to promoting friendship and understanding between Korea and the UK through various programmes of cultural activities and events. These include visual arts, performing arts, music, literature, food and film, as well as education programmes that aim to deepen the knowledge of Korean heritage, history and culture. Each year the KCCUK collaborates with dozens of UK arts institutions and their counterparts in Korea to produce an exciting range of exhibitions and performing arts events for the enjoyment of audiences across the UK. Alongside these, the KCCUK also organises the London Korean Film Festival, A Festival of Korean Dance and the ever-popular K-Music Festival.
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