The Leeum Museum of Art has announced the winner of its artist award program, ARTSPECTRUM 2022, which started again this year after a six-year break.
The winner is Cha Jeamin, who presents two video works that show how our society’s contradictions affect individuals through reconstructed stories based on the artist’s research and investigations.
Cha’s works have addressed issues concerning labor, wages, development, and the socially marginalized in capitalist society. Nameless Syndrome and Maneuver in Place are the two artworks featured in ARTSPECTRUM 2022.
In the video essay Nameless Syndrome, Cha cited sentences from Anne Boyer’s book The Undying and Carlo Ginzburg’s Clues: Roots of an Evidential Paradigm for its narration.
The video work depicts young women suffering from unknown diseases and the exclusivity of the healthcare system.
While caring for her mother, Cha notices that an increasing number of young women are suffering from unknown diseases. Although medical technology is advancing day by day, the healthcare system often overlooks the pain of these women because their symptoms are undiagnosed. Yet the only way to learn about their body condition is through a doctor’s examination. Cha reconstructed a new narrative based on her research to discuss the irony of this medical system.
Maneuver in Place, another new work, is a sound performance piece that was created partly as a consolation to all of the people who had to go through the hardship of lockdowns and quarantine due to the pandemic.
The piece was inspired by Octavia Butler’s science fiction short story Speech Sounds. The plot revolves around a world that has lost its language and civilization in the aftermath of a global pandemic.
In this video, three young people are causing a commotion in a used bookstore by making sounds, such as collapsing a pile of books, taking turns reading something out loud, and DJing. The various actions and noises that were out of joint gradually find harmony. The artist metaphorically expresses the message that a disordered situation eventually returns to its original state amid confusion and chaos.
According to the Leeum Museum of Art, Cha was well-received by the judges for not only her technical perfection but also for addressing social issues through video work. Cha was chosen as the winner not only for her technical perfection in going through thorough pre-production processes but also for addressing social issues that surround Korean society from a creative perspective.
Cha Jeamin (b. 1986) has had solo exhibitions at the Doosan Gallery in Seoul (2014) and New York (2015), the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (2021), the Asia Culture Center (2020), the Seoul Museum of Art (2019), the Busan Museum of Contemporary Art (2019), the Berlin Institute of the Arts (2017), the 11th Gwangju Biennale (2016), and the Kukje Gallery in Seoul (2013).
Her works can be found in the collections of the Kadist in San Francisco, the Korean Film Archive, the Seoul Museum of Art, the Busan Museum of Contemporary Art, and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.
ARTSPECTRUM is a biannual art award and exhibition program aiming to recognize promising Korean contemporary artists and introduce their outstanding artworks to the public, both inside and outside of the country.
ARTSPECTRUM 2022 is on view through July 3, 2022, and Cha Jeamin will give a lecture about her artworks on June 18, 2022, at the Leeum Museum of Art.