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Ellie Kyungran Heo: Plantarians

Scheduled as the artist video strand of the London Korean Film Festival, this exhibition runs until December. Shame that the related lecture and artistic exploration on 20 November clashes both with Bongsu Park’s long-awaited dream auction and the Kimjang festival in New Malden, but it’s nice that the show is on for a while. In previous years I’ve never been able to make it up to the Lux during the course of the festival, so it’s good to have a few weeks available.

Ellie Kyungran Heo: Plantarians

Saturday 6 November – Saturday 11 December 2021 | Gallery opening hours Wed-Sat 12-4pm
LUX | Waterlow Park Centre | Dartmouth Park Hill | London N19 7JF

Plantarians: Ellie Kyungran Heo

LUX is delighted to present the first UK solo exhibition by South Korean artist Ellie Kyungran Heo, featuring her latest moving image project Plantarians (2017-2020), in partnership with the London Korean Film Festival.

Ellie Kyungran Heo’s work considers the ethics of coexistence, attending to the underlying environmental conflicts in everyday lives. Her reframing of encounters between humans and nature reveals an intricate web of interdependence and questions anthropocentric perspectives. Punctuated by humour and irony, Heo’s works are filled with social and ecological entanglements, in which the multiplicity of discourse is celebrated.

Heo’s observational approach to documentary is often interposed with staged gestures which hint at the artist’s uncertainty and open-ended curiosity, offering a self-reflexive mode of filmmaking as a way of coexisting. With its distinctive sensitivity and rigour, Heo’s film, as Gareth Evans writes, “resists easy co-option. It resists for a little while the ongoing erasures. It says like all works of worth, ‘this was’, ‘this is’, ‘remember’”.

Plantarians (2017-2020) is a rumination on entangled relationships between humans and plants in urban spaces. Divided into episodes, each follows individuals who cultivate, eat and accompany plants in celebration and grief. These everyday activities become strangely unfamiliar through unhurried attention to the moments of survival and resilience of plants between the cracks, on the peripheries of gardens and within human-made surroundings. The subtle shift in perspective elicits a sense of ambivalence, imagining how plants might endure, interact with and be vulnerable to the interruptions inflicted upon them. Plantarians poses a fundamental question around interdependent relations, both conflicting and intimate, and how we co-inhabit this planet with all living beings.

The exhibition at LUX features a collection of short films, photography and video installation that form the latest iteration of the Plantarians episodes, accompanied by a commissioned essay and related programmes.

The first iteration of Plantarians was screened at LUX in 2017. This time, the project returns to the site as an expansive body of work, marking the occasion of welcoming Heo’s films to the LUX Collection. Plantarians has been developed during Hospitalfield Summer Residency 2017; Summer Lodge Residency, Nottingham Trent University 2018; Jan van Eyck Academie Residency 2019-2020 and supported by The Elephant Trust and Arts Council Korea.

The exhibition is supported by the London Korean Film Festival and presented in the context of the Artist Video Strand for the 16th edition of the festival.

Related Events:

A Plant/Human Encounter | Sat 20 November / 3pm at LUX

A botanical lecture and artistic exploration event hosted by Dawn Sanders (Botanical educator and researcher, University of Gothenburg), Atzi Muramatsu (Multi-disciplinary composer) and exhibiting artist Ellie Kyungran Heo. More information will be released on the LKFF and LUX websites.

Online Screening | 27 – 28 November on the LUX Website

Ellie Kyungran Heo’s earlier work Island (2015) will be available on the LUX website.


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