Chad and I are bouncing around the U.S. right now, seeing friends get married, going to a bridal shower (just me), and then celebrating our first anniversary (just us). For the time being I thought you would enjoy these two clips my friends from Red Gate Residency took while I was working the night crowd in Beijing while doing the Body Project. Thank you, Rayana Savrosa and Nick Curley! Click on their names and check out their work!
Videos: Body Cards, Pizza Boys & Body Cards, Pizza Boys 2
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Hello, all! I have been back in the States for about a week. The jet lag is gone and I’m ready to catch you up on the adventures and art. My time in China and South Korea was incredible to say the least–I learned a lot and met amazing people.
This post is long over due. Chad and I visited Chaochangdi almost a month ago. You might remember our visit from this picture. This post is a small collection of artwork we saw at Three Shadows Gallery which was designed by Ai Weiwei. The space was great and we really enjoyed the artwork in it. The whole time we were there I couldn’t stop thinking about our close friend and talented photographer, Zane Davis.
The work above captured my attention immediately. It is Chen Zhe’s series Body / Wound Series created from 2008-2010. The abstraction of the body is wonderful. Upon immediate approach I was not clear on the subject matter. As I stood infront of the works I began picking out different parts. I love bodies as puzzles that can be taken apart, mixed and put back together. Below is a different view, I apologize for the glare.
The next grouping is by the same artist. For this work she won the 2011 Three Shadows Photography Award.
When I visit an art space I have to decide how I will approach the artwork. Sometimes I read about the artist and the work before I look at the pieces. This method gives an immediate context and in many ways makes the art more accessible. My preferred method, which is a bit more challenging at times, is to enter a work of art through my own raw, uninfluenced interpretation. With the piece above I did so. I thought of the way my brain feels after being online bumming around the internet for a long time. My brain bounced around, I couldn’t settle on an image. I barely noticed the sliced arm in the center.
Yang Nannan created the photographs above. I think the series is called The Other Side Series but my notes are unclear. Yang photographs cross-dressers and transexuals. On the title card the artist says, “The Other Side is my exploration into the things behind mainstream society…I hope that these works will allow people to reexamine respect and violation, normal and abnormal, and moral and immoral. I want to give the audience a new understanding of human nature, emotions, desires, instincts, and social roles.”
The last photo I took of Chad at Platform China in honor of his employer, Groupon, who is very generous with many, many things including Vitamin Water.
Last weekend I headed down to Mokpo, South Korea to visit my amazing friend, Ilka. Ilka and I met when we both lived in Gangwon-do. She lived in a town north of Samcheok. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I hit the rainy season in East Asia–both Mokpo and Seoul are a bit soppy.
Fortunately, there was very little rain on Sunday so we were able to explore a bit of Mokpo. I think Ilka and I walked for about 4 hours. We just kept going. Above you can see the marshy area we found that is right next to the water. We encountered many exciting things including a lost child with a scraped knee, Choco pies, a vacant dock, exercise equipment and undergarments!
After our walk we went home to freshen up and then made our way to a fantastic coffee shop in Mokpo. Ilka convinced the owner to participate in the Body Project. Ilka’s friend Annie met us at the coffee shop. They both filled out a Body Card in Afrikaans–they are from South Africa.
Look at the hat above and to the left. I need that.
After the coffee shop we proceeded to dinner and then to one of the most important parts of Mokpo, the reason why Mokpo is called “City of Light.”
Below are Ilka and Annie! Look at how well they planned their outfits to match their selected light display!
Monday morning I went to Ilka’s school for a couple of hours. She teaches in a huge elementary school that is about 5 times the size of my beloved Guendeok. Two of her students (sisters nonetheless) just won the speech contest which is a huge deal. You may remember Chad and I doing something similar with our students. The situation tugged at my heartstrings a bit. To level the playing field in this particular province the school system decided that each student would perform the same speech. Back when we were teachers, our students did an excellent job at the speech contest but they are from a country school and those students are rarely have the privilege of private tutoring that the city kids have. There is no real way to actually level the playing field (EPIK was a help), though I’m glad they are trying. The kids that do it love it. When Ilka was congratulating her students and telling them how proud she was of them she also emphasized that she was proud of them even if they didn’t win. I loved getting to be in that environment again AND I got to eat school lunch! Yes, I love school lunch!
Just a couple of hours ago Chad left for the States. Fortunately, I have a full few days ahead. Today I am meeting with artist Seo Ji Yeon and her friend to chat about gender and sexuality in contemporary Korean art. Later on I will be attending a gallery opening at Space 15th with Julia Marsh. Julia has been my host in South Korea and I can’t tell you enough about how wonderful she is.
The photo above is my favorite taken of Chad while he was visiting me in China and South Korea. The day my parents left for the States Chad and I visited Chaochangdi, an arts village outside of Beijing. This area is where Ai Weiwei is based. Three Shadows and Platform China are where we spent the majority of our time. More on those someday soon!
Above is an image from my very last night at the Red Gate Gallery Residency in Beijing. Taking down the Body Project ended up as a short performance piece that will be part of my Kickstarter Rewards DVD. My husband and I had a wonderful time doing it and managed to avoid packing for another few hours.
South Korea is going incredibly well. I have already made wonderful new contacts. I look forward to sharing more of that with you soon.
Chad and I landed in Seoul on Thursday night. The next morning we hopped on a bus back to the town where we used to live, Samcheok-si, Gangwon-do. The fact that we are back in Samcheok less than 18 months after we left is simply amazing. Many of our friend didn’t think they would ever see us again. We had a wonderful, quick trip.
Last night we went out for our favorite kind of duck and went to norebang. Some of our closest friends joined us! Teacher Kim Young Mi and Teacher Son Un Jin are with me above. Teacher Kim Sook Jin was also with us. Teacher Son invited us to come to school this morning. Chad and I loaded up with a dozen Dunkin Donuts, our favorite edible gift to bring to school, and headed to Guendeok on our old route to school.
At school we got to see almost all of our old students and many of our former co-workers. They were very excited to see us but a bit shy about it. They have all grown so much! Teacher Son and Teacher Kim both had their students do the Body Project! Many of the students used drawings! I can’t wait for the next installation so that I can show off my students’ handy-work.
Tomorrow I think we will finally start getting settled in Seoul. Chad and I keep laughing that it seems like he is settling me in at summer camp, I’m glad he’s here to do it.
Look forward to more posts soon!