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Current Exhibition



KIM Insook|Between Breads and Noodles

February 25 (Sat) - March 25 (Sat), 2023

GALLERY MoMo Ryogoku is pleased to present "Between Breads and Noodles," a solo exhibition by KIM Insook from February 25 (Sat) to March 26 (Sat).

After graduating from the Department of Photography at the College of Visual Arts in Osaka, KIM studied abroad at the Graduate School of Art, Hansung University in South Korea in 2003, and completed her graduate studies at the same university in 2005.


She had a solo exhibition, "sweet hours" at the Gwangju MUSEUM OF ART (2008), and she has participated in residency programs in Germany and at the National Museum of Contemporary Art (South Korea). Also, she has joined group exhibitions at the Daegu Photo Biennale, Mori Art Museum, Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, TOKYO PHOTOGRAPHIC ART MUSEUM, and Borderless Art Museum NO-MA.


KIM has continued to work with the idea that "to be diverse is to be universal" at the core concept of her works. Following people in the "school" and "family" communities of Koreans living in Japan, her roots, KIM succeeded in showing the diversity in "sweet hours" and "SAIESO: between Two Koreas and Japan." Also, she created works that suggestively question what traditions and rituals are by incorporating fictional elements and exploring the expansion of the family in "The Real Wedding Ceremony" which consists of photographs and a video of her own wedding performance. While following these people living between multiple cultures and nationalities, she has depicted the daily lives and memories of diverse "individuals" and their "peaceful everyday lives," while addressing themes such as history, tradition, community, ethnicity, and family.


In 2021, she had a solo exhibition entitled "Ari, A letter from Seongbuk-dong" at the gallery, suggesting the preservation and renewal of "tradition" that transcends generations and is discussed with the changing landscape of Seongbuk-dong, Seoul, South Korea. This project also suggests "family relations" that connect with others = "expansion (of the category) of the family" as a theme. The related project "House to Home" was presented at TOKAS (Tokyo Arts and Space), Hongo OPEN SITE 6 at the same time, and was highly acclaimed as an exhibition that connected what KIM has long pursued with the fast-changing city of Tokyo.


In addition, the curators, galleries, and artists of art museums in Japan and South Korea were invited to participate in an online talk event, KIM Insook's "Translation Possibilities in Art Production and Appreciation" (organized by Record), to discuss how to communicate through art with people from different backgrounds, such as people with disabilities, immigrants, and sexual minorities. The event was organized by the University of Tokyo (University of Tokyo: Facilitator Training Program for SDGs in Culture and the Arts).


In this exhibition, we will present the project "Between Breads and Noodles" focusing on South Korean and immigrants in Germany, which was created during her residency program run by the city of Düsseldorf, Germany in 2014. As a third-generation Japanese immigrant herself, KIM took photographs of Koreans living in Germany and their families who were sent to Germany as part of a government program, and focused on the identities of second-generation immigrants and beyond. In the project, she also made a tower of Asian instant ramen noodles and had visitors eat them.


We hope you will enjoy viewing the photographs and video works that capture the diverse backgrounds and values of immigrants in Dusseldorf, which cannot be summed up by the word "immigrant." In addition, her latest project "Eye to Eye" has been exhibited as a commission project at "Yebisu Film Festival 2023" held at TOKYO PHOTOGRAPHIC ART MUSEUM.




Artist Statement

Since 2001, I have been engaged in projects that focus on the individuality and diversity of people living between Japan, South Korea, and North Korea, as well as projects based on communication with local and community people in South Korea, China, and Germany, seeking better relationships that go beyond ideology and "prejudice" against people with different backgrounds from oneself.

This exhibition and talk event "Between Breads and Noodles," featuring Hanae Utamura, is intended to share the perspectives of foreign residents in Japan and Japanese who have immigrated abroad, so that we can look at "people with different cultural backgrounds" not as strangers to us, but as coexisting beings living next to us. This exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of GALLERY MoMo and a grant from the Arts Council Tokyo for the first phase of the 2022 Tokyo Arts and Culture Creation and Dissemination Program.


The artist was sent to Germany as a coal miner and nurse under the national policy of the Republic of Korea from 1963 to 1977, and after immigrating to Germany, he created his works based on communication with the people living there until now. The process of looking at the identities of second-generation immigrants who came to a foreign country is captured in photographs and video works, and their identities as Asians living in Europe are expressed in a tower of about 2,000 instant ramen noodles of about 40 kinds imported from South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. In the performance, I used the ramen as a metaphor to show how people reach the individuality of others through the act of approaching the ramen tower (i.e., Asians living in Europe), choosing a flavor (i.e., learning about their individuality), and trying it (i.e., becoming familiar with it). The installation focused on their lives as Asians in Europe, and through these works, which attempted to transform racial prejudice into individuality and diversity, the viewers experienced their position together.


In addition, the talk event "Between Breads and Noodles, Between them from Artists’ Eyes" invited artist Hanae Utamura during the exhibition period. I have had online conversations with Utamura, who lives in the U.S. for a year since February 2022, and will be presented at the talk event. We have been researching and studying the contents of the project.

The talk will be based on my own experiences as a foreign artist living in Japan while living in Osaka, Seoul, Korea, and Tokyo, and the experiences of Hanae Utamura, who was born in Ibaraki, studied in England, moved to Germany, and now lives in the U.S. We will discuss how to look at Japan from the inside and outside, and how to relate to people from different backgrounds. We would like to provide an opportunity to look at Japan from the inside and outside, and to think together about what kind of relationship we should have with people from different backgrounds.


Lastly, I have presented my 10-channel video installation "Eye to Eye" in the Yebisu Film Festival 2023 "Commission Project," which is being held concurrently with this exhibition from February 3 to 26, 2022. This is a work to reflect on facing the individuality of "people with different backgrounds from our own," which we may overlook if we are not conscious of it. The work was created through a project in which I met and spent time with the Santana School (Colegio Santana) in Aisho-cho, Aichi-gun, Shiga Prefecture, and confronted each of the approximately 80 children aged 0 to 18, as well as the teachers and supporters of the Santana School.


Through "Between Breads and Noodles" and "Eye to Eye," I hope that this project will provide an opportunity to intersect the positions of domestic and international immigrants who have come to different countries to work, and to look at "people with different cultural backgrounds" as people who live side by side with us. I hope you will visit the exhibition as well.

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