Kang Seung Lee <Garden>
22 Nov. - 22 Dec. 2018
One and J. Gallery, Seoul
ONE AND J. Gallery is pleased to announce Kang Seung Lee's solo exhibition Garden to be held November 22nd through December 22nd. The exhibition will present drawings, archival installation and video works centering on Derek Jarman (1942-1994) and Joon-soo Oh (1964-1998) both gay rights activists in their respective England and Korea who died from AIDS complications in the 1990s.
For the past two years, Lee has visited the garden at Prospect Cottage built near Dungeness Beach in Kent. This is the private garden of the British film director and activist Derek Jarman who designed and tended the garden himself for several years before his death. Over his visits, Lee collected plants, soil, rocks, scrap metal, discarded wood and other similar materials that Jarman combined to make pieces in his garden. The materials that Lee collects are used in his drawings and embroideries as well as recoding memories from Jarman’s works and essays on his garden planning. The life and traces of Jarman carved through Lee’s labor intensive work serve as a memorial of an activist who resisted social stigma and homophobia.
Concurrently, Lee looks to the life of Korean gay human rights and AIDS activist Joon-soo Oh. Oh’s diaries and poems, many published and archived by his friends, appear in the exhibition. Lee also remembers Oh’s life by reproducing them in drawings and embroideries and recording the lives of individuals who have made sustained resistance in society. In his video works, Lee goes back and forth between the garden at Prospect Cottage and several places in Seoul with historical ties to the gay community (including Namsan and Tapgol Park). In each location, Lee performs ritualistic acts such as collecting soil or burying parts of drawings. Via such acts, Lee questions the customs of burying or recording death. The soil that Lee collected is mixed and made into pottery and installed in the exhibition space. These acts link Jarman and Oh and the countless lives that are not remembered while revealing the history of oppression and resistance by the queer community. While the history and stigma has been attempted to be erased from mainstream history such history is already recorded and communicated in languages beyond human memory through the soil, plants and objects that we use, create and leave behind.
All photos by Euirock Lee
pebble from Dungeness), Untitled (Tree at Tapgol Park and
pebbles from Dungeness)