Young In Hong: Stitching together the images of South Korean post-war history

Andrew Stooke

The relationship between fleeting impressions and eternal records is at the heart of “The Moon’s Trick”, Young-In Hong’s exhibition at Korean Cultural Centre UK.
The exhibition is haunted by photographic images, but, in most instances, only a trace is disclosed, a black outline of basic compositional elements, embroidered on snow-white cloth.
The 40 works in the “Prayers” series lead the visitor through the gallery that has been partitioned around an asymmetric centre. The show opened with an event involving four diverse musicians, two singers and a sewing machine operator, stationed throughout these eclectic spaces. A diagram functioned to direct the performers to different positions in the space and as a graphic score. It was derived from a further series of panoramic machine embroidered works on taught silk, Looking Down From the Sky (2017): their minimal jittering delineations are based on archive photos of public demonstrations that took place in South Korea between the 1960s and 1990s. The works’ contours are interpreted by the performers as duration, pitch and timbre. Hong’s influence on the outcome of the performance is tangential, mirroring the manner whereby the reception of a photographic source becomes detached from the impetus of its creation over time.

By Andrew Stooke

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