Commission Project Free

KIM Insook

2/2/2024 - 3/24/2024

Tokyo Photographic Art Museum 3F Exhibition Gallery

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KIM Insook

KIM Insook, House to Home, 2021
Tokyo Arts and Space, Tokyo, 2021


“Ari, A letter from Seongbuk-dong” and “House to Home” are composed of works created in the town of Seongbuk-dong, which shows signs of gentrification. Seongbuk-dong, Seongbuk- gu, located in the northern part of Seoul, South Korea, is a town where traditional Korean houses called hanok line the streets like townhouses.
The town, which has had a deep connection to cultural arts since the Joseon Dynasty and is home to cultural assets such as the former houses of literary legends and castle remains, is a place where museums, galleries, theater companies, artists, restaurants, and others who love the quaint town have gathered. Modern history was once in perfect harmony with the town. After Seongbuk-dong became a hot topic as a town where people could enjoy modern culture and contemporary art, however, the land prices rose and the speed at which old city hanok turned into shops and condominiums accelerated. The community in the town was filled with discussion about gentrification.
Older towns always face the problem of “conservation” and “renewal.” Old and new values differ depending on the position of each person who owns them. Considering that changes to the town are inevitable, “Ari, A letter from Seongbuk-dong” is a project that was carried out to preserve the exquisite harmony of the town in 2015. A girl appearing in the works signifies a link between modern times and the future.
The town is always transforming around us. Local residents will eventually get used to its new appearance, which is welcomed along with feelings of longing for its former appearance. What is needed to embrace the various things missed by people and build a better future? Together, I would like to envision a future created through the fusion of tradition and new culture.
“House to Home” is a project that explores “family expansion” by inviting townspeople and people living many years in Korea with whom I have built a family-like relationship to a former hanok called the Old House, which undergone renovation over more than 80 years. Old House has become a home where people who understand and support the project seriously discuss “the category of family.” The installation comprises video works in which I recorded the process of preparing the project and the dialogues. Through this project, I hope we will reflect on our own families and places of residence and consider together the plurality of ideas among people in our surroundings.
The above projects were executed in 2015, and the installation that turned the production process into a work was completed in 2021. Both projects were then screened at Gallery 17717 in Seongbuk-dong, followed by a discussion titled “Art Talk with KIM Insook.” Former participants in my work, residents who have been observing the changes in the town, and new participants joined the discussion about the changing town, the future, and the expansion of the family. The installation presented here will include a new work comprising dialogues recorded in 2023, shown together with dialogues that will be recorded during this edition of Yebisu International Festival for Arts & Alternative Visions. The work will gradually change over time.
This attempt to connect the two projects through the exhibition suggests that everyone experiences changes in their environment, but that fundamental relationships continue regardless of change or distance. Perhaps such relationships begin with the recognition and acceptance of each other’s differences. The exhibition space in which many people’s voices resound in unison represents the society we are living in. It is not easy to listen to each voice, but listen carefully and you will encounter a diversity of positions and ideas. I hope that by experiencing this space, you will be encouraged to think about the place you live and to look at others who are different from you as if you were looking at yourself.

Period: February 2 – March 24, 2024 *Closed on Mondays [Please note the exhibition is open on Monday, February 12 but closed on Tuesday, February 13]
Venue: Tokyo Photographic Art Museum 3F Exhibition Gallery