A Radical Place

A Radical Place: Constantly fluxing, living worlds and art, contexts and social spaces

More than 20 years ago, Germany reunified. How did that radical change impact the culture of that time? How does it impact culture today? Berlin is a radical place for Koreans. North and South Koreans have been doing state-approved study and work in East and West Germany, respectively, since the 1960s. While Pyongyang and Seoul still severely restrict contact between their citizens, in Berlin, thousands of North and South Koreans now live right beside each other.
This makes the city a "radical place," an exemplary location of history. Ms Seoyoung Kim examines how discussions and transformations of Berlin reverberate across the peninsula and how state ideologies influence individual Koreans.
The on-site works produced in Berlin by a father and son pair of Korean artists focus on the reality of division - an experience Koreans and Germans know too well. Multiple meanings emerge as interviews the son had with post-reunified Germans are transcribed on images drawn by his father, a Korean War survivor. The drawings invoke traditional literati paintings where poems were added to landscapes to reveal the painter’s inner character and sensitivity.
To what extent the current concept of cultural translation and interpretation is compatible with this history is a question of crucial topicality. This approach re-formulates the open question of art tradition via the equally open question of pictoriality. Moreover, the works invite us to think about the present and future of Korea, the only country in the world still divided by the Cold War.

An abstract for the Symposium Negotiating Histories: Tradition in Modern and contemporary Asia-Pacific Art at the Tate Modern, London, October 21, 2013, written by Seoyoung Kim, to the Tate Research Centre: Asia-Pacific in London, United Kingdom