Artists seek post COVID-19 new normal

09-Aug-2020 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 10:17 AM Print This Post

Daegu was one of the regions in Korea the most severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic as it was the epicenter of the first large COVID-19 outbreak outside China, in February. At its peak, over 1,000 confirmed cases were reported daily and patients had to wait for hospital beds.

As the city tried to get back on a path to a “new normal” life with social distancing, the Daegu Art Museum organised an exhibition to console its citizens and look for this new normal after COVID-19.

Titled “New Communion,” the exhibit seeks to document the pandemic that swept the city, while exploring the meaning of solidarity in a broader sense as people fight the infectious disease together.

Photographer Jang Yong-geun, who is working on his Urban Archive Project, captured people through thermal imaging camera in his latest series “37.5˚C.” The temperature refers to the benchmark body temperature in deciding on whether a person has a fever, a symptom of COVID-19. People who have a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees Celsius are not allowed to enter public spaces. The chromatic colors of the temperature sensor make the subject rather anonymous.

Jang also documented nurses in their protective suits as an homage to the medical staff who were on the front line of the work against the coronavirus in his “The Nurse” series.

Oh Jung-hyang’s “A Whole New Routine” is an artistic interpretation of social distancing and how COVID-19 has changed daily life. Visitors can watch video clips of people’s stories showing how their daily routines have changed in the past few months due to the coronavirus from a seat two meters away from the screen, which is the length recommended for social distancing.

Kwon Se-jin’s ink-and-wash paintings portray ordinary schooldays from the 1990s, such as a computer room with CRT monitors, and a physical education class, which contrasts against school life of 2020 which is mostly conducted through by online activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Rhee Ji-young’s floral photography series “Space” is a nod to the spring people were not able to enjoy this year.

Kim An-na’s “Breath” is a live simulation project that reflects real-time air quality near the museum. The data is transmitted to a virtual reality where weather changes accordingly.

Oh Jung-hyang's "A Whole New Routine" on display at "New Communion" exhibition at Daegu Art Museum. Courtesy of Daegu Art Museum (KoreaTimes)

Oh Jung-hyang’s “A Whole New Routine” on display at “New Communion” exhibition at Daegu Art Museum. Courtesy of Daegu Art Museum (KoreaTimes)

Jeong Jae-beom explores the relationship between individuals and society in his work “Fever,” which also features a thermal scanner and visitors’ body temperatures that make hidden letters on a wall visible.

The exhibition tries to bring hope amid the pandemic through Kim Sung-soo’s handmade wooden sculptures of people the artist has met, and Jang Mee’s whimsical painting “How Can I Stop the Winter in My Heart?”

Installed in the museum’s main lobby is artist Choi Jeong-hwa’s “Kabbala,” which consists of red and green plastic baskets.

“It was displayed seven years ago for Choi’s solo exhibition at the museum. We have brought it out for the first time in seven years in the hopes of restoring everyday life amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Relating to that the plastic basket we use every day is also used for the artwork,” Daegu Art Museum director Choi Eun-ju said.

The exhibition runs through September 13. Advance reservation is required for a museum visit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Category: Korea

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