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Redefining the Korean Diaspora: ‘Two Time Zones: Korea and Joseon’

exhibition Kim Bokyoung Feb 13, 2024

SPACE February 2024 (No. 675)



Installation view of Change ©Kim Bokyoung


The exhibition ‘Two Time Zones: Korea and Joseon’, held at the Peace Culture Bunker from Dec. 3 to 30, 2023, starts with the agenda of redefining the Korean diaspora. Autobiographical works by North Korean defector Kwon Hyojin and Korean-Chinese (Joseon-jok) Shen Guang and Ahn Kearn-hyung’s works that critically look at South Korea’s national ideology were exhibited. Kwon Hyojin, who experienced a dramatic life change, moving from an elite DPRK party official to a political prisoner and a defector, published three new commissioned works, including a children’s book called I Will Live as a Happy Traveller, which describes the internal ideological conflict he experienced in South Korea and the challenging process of moving to Canada to live as a carpenter.  Shen Guang, who was born as Korean-Chinese in China and lived in Korea for his studies and works, has created work that reflects on his experience of the change in identity that came with changes in residence. In this exhibition, now open to the public, Change dubs clips of the movie, THE OUTLAWS (2017) and The Yellow Sea (2010) in Yanbian, while Nothing→Something→Nothing→S omething→Nothing, shows the creation process of a sculpture of the characters ‘Joseon-jok’ made from the ground powder of a rock. In the two new commissioned works he actively affirms his identity as a Korean-Chinese. He rejects being defined as a ‘borderline’ or ‘weak’ case, but rather shows that he is a pioneer actively pursuing life. A researcher of the History of Zainichi Korean art and a Zainichi himself, Pek Rum exhibited his research  archives and a commissioned new work titled Conversation About ‘A History of Zainichi Korean art 1945 – 1962: Records of Artists and Their Expressive Activities’. There is also the chronology of the immigration history of the people of Joseon collected by curators Kim Su and Kim Dong-geun as part of this exhibition. Featuring local history filled with the subjective perspective of immigrants, the exhibition presents a new view of the Korean diaspora.