‘To Paint the Portrait of a Bird’ invites the audience to enter the ‘inside’ of a cage where artworks are displayed, while the ‘outside’ of the cage is not accessible to the audience, it is only possible to look at this surrounding space through the mesh walls. This binary structuring of the space opens the hierarchical positioning of humans and birds.
The inside of the cage is reminiscent of a ceremonial space where Eastern and Western motifs and symbols meet. The images on the carpet show an imagined critical perspective of the birds towards the humans, based on the poem, ‘To Paint the Portrait of a Bird’ by Jacques Prévert. The wall piece is indirectly reflecting the Confucian sadang in Kam Mo Yo Je Do (감모여재도), but here the middle of the sadang that is supposed to be empty is full of bird images.
Outside the cage is a non-symbolic space, viewed as a natural environment for domesticated birds. Recorded sounds of birds are played throughout the installation space projecting in and out of the cage.
Photo: Courtesy of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea