'Art is an empty space'

'Art is an empty space'

Korean artist

It was not long ago when South Korean artist Narae Jin used to have a “stereotypical outlook” towards feminism and feminists. As part of an academic course, she began to understand that feminism is more than women and decided to use art to change the perception.

That is how, years later, TRANS, an Indo-Korean contemporary art exhibition was conceptualised. She tells Metrolife, “What would happen if we further promote this feminist way of seeing things? I think artists are the ones who can view things differently, who can practice this change in viewpoints. So I invited artists who see things differently, and asked some of them to practice this standpoint (ex)change.”

Using feminism as a stepping stone to reflect upon and understand alternative perspectives, the group exhibition also focuses on issues of gender, identity, transnationalism, power, tolerance, environment, animal rights, cyborg and machine civilisation, by using a variety of media such as painting, sculpture, photography, video and installation. “The exhibit might be considered to be multi-thematic. However, these are some of the issues that require change in perception, just like feminism,” says Jin, who is also the curator of the show.

Featuring 10 Korean and Indian artists, the exhibition is an attempt to show similarities between the cultures.  “I find that Indian and Korean cultures are quite similar in some ways such as respecting elders, and having expected gender roles. The show is to facilitate the broadening and exchange of perspectives, starting with gender issues, which have been discussed increasingly over the years, both in India and Korea,” says
Incheon-based Jin. 

On her media installation, ‘TransDrama’, she mentions, “It is basically an attempt to change one’s state. I think trying to be the other (or to understand the other) is the first step of communication. It is originally meant to be a performance or a workshop, in which participants are asked to choose an object and try to become that thing.”

Trying to widen the range of “change in standpoint”, Jin along with Jeonghoon Lee and Myungseok Chae has also created a collaborative artwork ‘Charter of Rights
of Robo Sapiens’ on the fictional narrative of cyborgs (cybernetics technology).

“New technology creates numerous changes in our lives and unequivocal questions which require paradigm shift. It seems that trans-human, or cyborgs, which we have seen in Sci-Fi movies and animation, will be realised in the close future, and it evokes questions like what is human, and where we put our boundaries to declare that we are human,” explains the 32-year-old.

Emphasising that art gives her the freedom to express, Jin says she wants to explore more complex topics. “I intend to create an image-novel about how we are driving ourselves into directions we want to go — right or left. I want to show this aspect in one family, somewhat like genealogy. Or it can be a story of ships sailing in the ocean not knowing where to go,” says Jin.

The exhibition is on till March 18 at Korean Cultural Centre, Lajpat Nagar IV.

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