Korean Artist Project with Korean Art Museum
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Hyun Wook KANG

Hyun Wook KANG, Dangrim Art Museum


1973, Daejeon


Installation, Photography, Media



Man of Legend, 2013

Oil on Canvas, 50 x 65cm

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Hyun Wook Kang's World of Art

Is our communication with others principally based on social language use? Is there any other route and modality in such interpersonal exchange? The problem of communication - that which a foreigner encounters in a new environment or which the handicapped comes across in daily life - is used as subject matter, but can it really form the basis of expression that visually represents existence?

The work of Kang Hyun Wook invites the viewer to ask such questions and to expand our queries to global dimensions. It also provides a poignant mapping on the impossibility of communication between cultures. We live in a world that seems to be directly and permanently interconnected due to the collapse of such barriers as national borders and distances (low-cost flights, internet). But in a foreign land without the weapons of language, the artist claims that the single individual is faced with complex set of personal matters and irreversible barriers hidden behind the collective consensus of language.

Lurking behind this curtain are numerous complicated individual difficulties posing insurmountable barriers for each of us - left alone, unequipped, unable to speak the language of the strange territory. The tools used by the artist are rather simple: projections from mono-band videos used in , a manipulated version of karaoke as in , and close-up and audio transcription. These mechanisms, held in the hands of a media artist, make possible a documentary format set in the beginning of the 21st century, and composed of vivid moments of the daily life of a foreigner in France who is confronted with language barriers. But beyond this simple social plot, there is another nascent perspective, which is the expression of the artist’s own experiences of limits and disabilities. Caricature is employed to carefully reveal the artist’s inferiority complex towards others. This discretionary approach is transformed by the alchemy of the burlesque, created fusing real anger and empathy for the human being who resides and resonates inside the artist, and goes beyond his personal experience to extend to everyone who “lived alone for an extensive time period and with no one to talk to”, in the words of a poet who dreamt of an integrated union of human beings.

One of the characters in Singing in the Rain sings the lyrics of Make them Laugh - they would love and understand you. These are the keywords to success, which the artist employs with affected naivety. Behind the laughter generated by the burlesque humor and distracted character, is revealed the traumatic dichotomy between existence in this world and the impossibility of belonging.

Frederic Papon (l’Ancien responsable de la premiere annee du Fresnoy)


Video Work 'We say what?'

What kind of French do Asians speak? We can answer this question in the following manner; the Asians speak French with their own specific accent depending upon their own pronunciation of mother tongue. It is connected to their identities. If the French language represents the identity of French, the French spoken by Asians living in France would partly be linked to their identity. Thus what we are interested in showing is how the Asian identity can be obtained within the French language and how this French expresses these new citizens.

My film presents the French conversation between a Chinese woman and a Korean man with major issues such as political issues and day-to-day events. Unfortunately, their French conversation is not even perfect and uncomfortable for people to hear that; the words pronounced by this couple are not based on the grammatical rules of French or on the thinking of this language. However, their conversation that has certain systems thinking is unique and fun and through this, I intend to discuss about social validity.

The film will be shown on a television in a bourgeois bedroom. Here I refer to the preconceived ideas about a foreigner. Indeed, every expatriate arrives with a dream. Through this video, I intend to play on the notion of comfort, space and social position. The dream disappears and thus situations of tension and instability arise within the couple

Hyun Wook KANG