Hayoun KWON - Si proche et pourtant si loin


Duration: 02.28 - 05.05, 2019
Opening: 02.28, 5 -7 pm
Venue: 阿拉里奥画廊上海 A1(徐汇区龙腾大道2879号1F)

ARARIO GALLERY SHANGHAI is pleased to announce the solo exhibition of female Korean artist, Hayoun KWON (b.1981) “Si proche et pourtant si loin”, on view from February 28, to May 5th, 2019. Hayoun KWON, currently lives in France, adopts the moving-image as her primary artistic medium, to produce works that explore the space of one's memories. KWON is a recipient of the Prix Découverte des Amis du Palais de Tokyo in 2015; the 62nd International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, in 2016, and Prix Distinction in Ars Electronica in 2018. 


This exhibition marks Hayoun KWON’s first presentation in China. The title of the exhibition, “Si proche et pourtant si loin” embodies the sentiment of an eternal separation in spite of something seems close but is in fact far away. Due to various factors such as political issues and foreign relations, certain areas of the world are access prohibited to most people. However, a way of arriving at these unattainable sites would be through the technology of virtual reality. Hayoun KWON borrows others’ memories and VR technology to emanate the viewer into a real imagined experience. With these moving-images rich in imagination, the artist has caught the attention of the global art world.  


Hayoun KWON's artworks embark on spatial explorations of people's memories. These spaces often share one common characteristic – where the artist has not personally experienced and only exist in others’ memories. Prior to making these works, KWON spends a lot of time and energy in surveying her subjects, and conducting interviews with those who have been to these prohibited areas, or collecting and analyzing the immense amount of materials they have left behind. Then, with which, she begins to make works of art. The participation of the others, the uniqueness of documentary film, 3D animation, and features of VR experience allow Hayoun KWON to articulate the real and the surreal aspects of her works. 

Selected Works

Hayoun Kwon| 489years(Video) - still Image | 2016 | Video, stereo | 11 min 18 sec © Artist and ARARIO GALLERY

489 Years  (VR, 2015; Video,2016) is a critical work many of Hayoun KWON’s viewers are familiar with. 489 years marks the duration it requires to completely dismantle the land mines underground in the DMZ after the Korean War (1950-1953). DMZ, (an abbreviation for Demilitarized Zone), refers to the demilitarized area that bifurcates the north and the south of the Korean Peninsula after the war. 489 Years adopts the monologues of a former patrol soldier and VR experience to allow the viewer the access of this otherwise forbidden area. As one of the most dangerous parts of the world, in addition to the fear of death that came with stepping on land mines, contrasted by the natural beauty of this isolated area, these are the experiences the soldier has lived, and his memories for this land only consists of “land mines and flowers.” 

Hayoun Kwon| Model Village - Still Image | 2014 | HD video, color, stereo | 9 min 39 sec ©  Artist and ARARIO GALLERY

Model Village (2014), a work that took two years to produce, unveils the machine holes in North Korean propaganda villages to the world through a unique angle. Unable to obtain the permission from the United Nations to film the area, artist Hayoun KWON watched the refugees escaping their home country in the North Korean villages at the national border from afar. And she has appropriated materials from the immense visual archives left behind by foreign visitors to reconfigure this space. From there, she filmed on-site. Although only using architectural models, the transparency of its material allows the light to leave shadows behind, and the village devoured under a shadow, although exists in reality as a product of political circumstances, is shaped into an imaginary space as the film studios. 

Hayoun Kwon| Pan Mon Jom - Still Image | 2013 | Animation in color, mute | 3 min 54 sec © Artist and ARARIO GALLERY

Pammun Jom (2013) is a work that documents the set marching steps of the military guards stationed at Pammun Jom on the Military Demarcation Line (Lat. 38° North). The artist used an infrared thermal camera to visualize the military guards patrolling at the geometric space of Pammun Jom without ever stepping on the central point. KWON appropriates the choreography of Samuel Beckett’s Quad, to emphasize on their forever separation in spite of being in close proximity. 

Hayoun Kwon| Lack of Evidence - Still Image | 2011 | Animation documentary, color | 9 min 20 sec © Artist and ARARIO GALLERY

Unlike the sites in the aforementioned text, which are prohibited due to the unique relationship between North and South Koreas, Lack of evidence(2011) expands from the Nigerian refugee the artist has encountered at her current residence in France, who is unable to return to his home country. And his application for refugee is rejected due to a lack of proofs. KWON used 3D animation to set the mood and drawing the path of exile directly into the work, to visualize the refugee’s memories about that day, and space he has traversed.

About the Artist 

Hayoun KWON (b. 1981, Seoul, Korea), graduated from Beaux-Arts de Nantes with both bachelor and master degree, and received a second MFA from Le Fresnoy-Studio Nationale des arts contemporains.Her major solo exhibitions include, “Levitation”, DOOSAN Gallery, Seoul, Korea (2018); “I Suddenly Hear the Flap of Wings”, Galerie Sator, Paris, France (2018); “The Bird Lady”, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2017); “489 Years”, Le Centre d’Art et Photographie de Lectoure, Lectoure, France (2016) and etc.; Her recent major group exhibitions include, “Busan Biennale”, Busan City Art Museum, Busan, Korea (2018); “Remembering or Forgetting”, Arario Gallery Ryse Hotel, Seoul, Korea (2018); “The Principle of Uncertainty”, The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea (2017); “Imaginary Asia”, Nam June Paik Art Center, Gyeonggi-do, Korea (2017); “DOC FORTNIGHT 2017”, MoMA, New York, USA (2017); “MADE IN SÉOUL”,Centre d'Arts Contemporains Meymac, Corrèze, France (2016) and etc. Hayoun KWON’s works are included in major institutional collections that include, Centre Nationale des arts plastiques (France), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (France), Kadist Art Foundation (France), The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary (Korea), Daegu Art Museum (Korea), Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (USA) and etc.