Tag Archives: Korean American

PILLOW TALK — Hyemin Lee at Tenri Cultural Institute of New York, April 10-23, 2014


Hyemin Lee

April 10 – 23, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, April 11th, 6-8 PM


Hyemin Lee’s pillow installations can be discussed in terms of their historical background in the Chosun Dynasty when seen as symbols of dividing men from women. Used to denote the palace quarters that women occupied while working on creative projects, Kyubang defined the female space. Lee’s pillows however, are not just repetitions of past patterns, materials and forms but rather, they are new researches incorporating some traditional elements. In their categorical and hierarchic belief Confucianist doctrine instills in its followers a very strict code of ethics and hierarchical orientation. Thus, women needed to heed their roles as daughter in laws, be good in home management, be humble and chaste and have proper etiquette. These may seem like antediluvian ideas for today but revisionist studies like that of the Chinese American scholar Yuk Kwei Kwong posits a new more expanded perspective of Confucianism that shows Confucius as supporter to feminist ideas. By creating Kyubang pillows Lee speaks to these Chosun Dynasty Confucianist beliefs while respecting some, and changing others to suit her vision of contemporary art. She does not make them out of silk as did her forebears but rather out of repurposed materials that in themselves have a rich Korean history. Furthermore, Lee is reimagining the past into new forms. By sewing her works out of pieces of used Korean clothing she makes small pillows out of which she creates her installations. These configurations can take various forms like the frieze for example that usually wraps around the central part of a room. Although the frieze design is attributed to the ancient Greeks, by using it, Lee combines eastern and western compositional designs. As the artist says in her statement “I use daily objects representative of forgotten traditions or memories from my personal history, to create works, reviving in them the once lost dreams and hopes. I sew together old pieces of fabric and clothes, mostly traditional Korean garments that have been abandoned, to make miniature pillows, or collects wooden pieces from worn-out frames or cheap paper and cast them together into colorful sculptures. As I bring together everyday trivialities and traces of the past to restructure them in multiple layers into my own creations, I invite the audience to revisit and recollect their own past.”

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Double Mirror: Korean-American Artists April 1 – June 1, 2014 at the Katzen Arts Center, the American University Museum

Double Mirror:
Korean-American Artists

April 1 – June 1, 2014

Curated by Iris Inhee Moon

American University Museum

Fax: 202-885-1140
4400 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20016

Admission Free
Tue-Sun, 11:00-4:00
Fully Accessible


Double Mirror is a mixed media and mixed genre exhibition representing a group of 30 Korean and Korean-American artists whose works share, reflect, and refract the conditions of having bi-cultural identities in the ultra modern world. Through their works, these unique artists convey the cultural complexity and richness of serving two countries, Korea and America. They employ masterful techniques of multiple mediums including painting, drawing, photography, and reliefs. Double Mirror is an exploration of the ways contemporary Korean-American artists have faced, challenged, changed, and re-formulated the issue of physical, mental, and virtual immigration.

The 30 innovative artists represented in Double Mirror depict their diverse identities and subject matters as influenced by their multi-cultural backgrounds and media-controlled societies. As a whole, their work reflects a common vulnerability, uncertainty, and solitude of their subjects, many of whom are captured in the process of transporting and transforming themselves. These subjects are depicted using techniques of deconstruction, superimposition, repetition, and fractionation to inform their meaning. Whether physically embodied, absent, or entirely void, some subjects are familiar, some estranged, and others entirely escape our reality. Many of the works in Double Mirror both literally and symbolically represent the notion that altered and distorted realities govern our existence. Our lasting impression of this exhibition is that fluidity and adaptability exist hand-in-hand with fragility and vulnerability. Double Mirror renders these subjects in a sublimely beautiful way.

Participating Artists:

Sung Ho Choi
Sook Jin Jo
Sei Ryun Chun
Myong Hi Kim
Tchah Sup Kim
Young-Mi Kim
Mina Cheon
Hyungsub Shin
Hyong Nam Ahn
Moha Ahn
Jun Ahn
Buhm Hong
Koh, Sang Woo
Jae Yong Kim
Duck Hyun Cho
Hong Hee Kim
Daru-Jung Hyang Kim
BG Muhn
Atta Kim
Ik-Joong Kang
Ha Lee
Hee Soo Kim
Kyung Jeon
Yoo Ah Park
Eun Jin Jang
Hye Rim Lee
Jong Hoon Yang
Sung Hee Cho
Joon Kim
Nara Park


Gallery Talk:
Curator Inhee Iris Moon
April 5

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