November 14, 2007 08:00 am | I was standing there,
looking at a photograph of two men in a rowboat; one is lowering into
a lake a large chunk of stone with some kind of script etched into it,
the second is videotaping the first one do it. There is a second rowboat
farther away with two more people in it, one of them looks worried,
the other looks as though he were hired to row the boat and wasn't about
to ask questions.
While mentally relating this photo to
the one next to it – which was several glasses on a floor reflecting
the word "water" right-side up from the upside down image
on the wall behind it – a sudden sound broke my concentration.
I turned around to see performer An Chi In accompanied by a flurry of
red and blue papers whirling about, his bleach white coveralls splashed
in paint of the same colors, not coincidentally the same colors which
adorn the South Korean flag.
SEGMENT is the result of over a year's worth of organization between
Hungarian galleries (2B, Ráday, IX, and Erlin) and South Korean galleries
(Igong, Wooyeon and Yian).
While a dozen or so Hungarians displayed their work in Korea in July
of this past summer, this part represents the Korean contingent of the
exchange, which runs until Nov 21.
Fortunately, the galleries in District IX's Ráday utca (numbers 47-49)
are all right beside each other. The opening of SEGMENT (on some publicity
listed as SEGMENT IV) on Sunday, Nov 4 was an unusually welcoming art
I say this not purely because the chin-holding,
head-nodding "I get it, but I'm not telling" crowd was largely
absent, but because the life and spirit of this collaboration beamed
onto Raday út with a genuine glow.
An over-arching theme among many of the artists seems to be a deep,
soulful appreciation and respectful love of nature, particularly water,
wind and wood.
In some cases it is not the actual artwork itself on display, but a
reproduction or documentation of it.
This is partly because some of the work is environmental installation.
There are also several large scale photo prints and many original paintings
and installations. While ideas of Eastern philosophical balance are
evident in many of the pieces, there is a cautionary tone as well, almost
a warning that currently the world is not so balanced.
In Yoo Dongjo's 10-year-long international enviro-installation, he drops
a 20 kilogram stone into any one of 12 lakes across the globe, on each
stone is written the word "water" in the language of that
His simple yet beautiful idea is that if, and when, the lake dries up,
however many years from now, there will still be the memory at least
of the water.
Korean curator Jeon Hyungwon's painting Tree and I (the title is a linguistic
play on the Chinese symbol for "rest") explores dreamlike
peace of the forest, but also the difficulty of slowing down in this
While I regret missing An Chi In's performance because of a bottle-necked
entrance to the performance space in the rear of the gallery, I am glad
that I was surprised by his entrance into the larger space.
As he fervently hurled papers at the ceiling- allowing them to fall
in spirals on the crowd, my feeling was that all he wanted was for us
to notice the air.
by Kevin Rees
2007. 11. 14.