This exhibition forms the artist video strand of the 2022 London Korean Film Festival:
Yun Choi: Running at the Speed of Light, the Body Becomes a Turtle
LUX is delighted to present the first UK solo exhibition by South Korean artist Yun Choi in partnership with the London Korean Film Festival.
Yun Choi collects images, words and behaviours marked by South Korean banality and remixes them for her videos and multimedia installations. Through the fantastical embodiment of vernacular culture, her practice activates a society into multi-body beings, manifesting the contemporary psyche. Ecstatic and melancholic, her work traces collective belief and reverie that underlie absurd sociopolitical phenomena.
The exhibition at LUX presents two films that explore language as a bodily experience: the latest rendition of Choi’s film Where the Heart Goes_Poetry Collection (2022), and Viral Lingua (2018), a collaborative film made with musician Minhwi Lee. Grounded in the embodied writing practice, these films animate words through utterances, visual symbolisms and bodily movements to enunciate gut feelings that challenge logic.
Where the Heart Goes: Poetry Collection, Yun Choi, 2022
Where the Heart Goes: Poetry Collection is a disorienting film that embodies the fatigue and emptiness of material culture and its blinding optimism. Questioning the fast cycle of cultural production, Choi recycles her exhibition into a context and material for a shapeshifting film in which a group of performers play the spirit medium of the unattended. The resulting film enacts trance like rituals – a dramatic monologue, ghostly rave party and wistful self-affirmation – with an animistic imagination. Colliding references to the horror genre with pop spiritualism, Choi choreographs feelings of disillusionment induced by the pressure to constantly “upload” and “update”.
The film is structured around five poems written by the artist; each draws on a word (over)used in political rhetorics, aphorisms and memes in the Korean language and acts as a prompt for absurd worldbuilding. The recurring motif throughout the film is the word “마음: Ma-eum” (meaning “heart” or “mind”), which is repeated, exhausted and stripped of its nuances and authenticity. This repetition renders the word all at once meaningless and desirable. Choi leans into this malfunctioning of seemingly unquestionable words and images that populate restless Seoul, trapped in perpetual weariness and emptiness.
Viral Lingua, Minhwi Lee and Yun Choi, 2018
Playing on a word-of-mouth strategy of viral marketing, Viral Lingua explores language as a vessel that transmits and mutates political ideology. The film is propelled by a performer who lip-syncs to melodramatic songs, immersed in otherworldly make-ups and hyperreal images of Korean landscapes. The lyrics adapt wordplay and self-loathing satire with wry humour, reflecting the irony of living in a society built upon the histories of colonialism and the cold war. From a Korean patriotic tune lamenting an ill-fated love for a country to a children’s song set in a sci-fi dystopia, the film composes an anthem of a neocolony.
Viral Lingua (2018) was commissioned by the 2018 Busan Biennale.
Yun Choi is a Korean contemporary artist from Seoul, currently living and working in Amsterdam. Her practice comprises a hybrid of multiple mediums which oscillate between the digital and corporeal. Her practice looks into the absurd emotional conflict caused by the overlapping and lagging timelines of a rapidly updating society and its consequent repressions; the complex sensations of alienation, awkwardness, and attachment are essential aspects. Tinkering with contemporary byproducts and residues produced from those sensations, she uses and explores various methods, such as mimicking, accumulating, and propagating; she attempts to animate them into variant media. She has shown her work at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Korea), Art Sonje Center, Busan Biennale, Gwangju Biennale, Kukje Gallery, Doosan Gallery New York, Seoul Museum of Art, and many more. She is a resident artist of Rijksakademie 2021-2023.
Minhwi Lee has composed and directed music for various feature films, video art, and performances since 2008. Films she scored were invited to multiple international film festivals including Film Festival Rotterdam, the Berlinale, SITGES, and IDFA, among others. Lee is also known for her 2016 solo album Borrowed Tongue and her former band Mukimukimanmansu. She studied musicology in Seoul and film scoring in New York and Paris. She currently lives and works in Seoul.