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Artist Statement

Chansong Woo

My work focuses on a specific memory of the Gwangju Democratization Movement in 1980, South Korea. Although I never directly experienced the movement, I experienced it as a second-hand experience. One day, when I was in middle school, a teacher showed a cruel documentary instead of teaching regular class subjects. We watched the documentary—citizens fired upon, killed, and beaten by government troops—together. I was frozen on a chair while some students cried or left the classroom because the actual incident was too cruel to be real. That was the first day I experienced the Gwangju Democratization Movement. I felt so overwhelmed as if I was in the middle of the movement. In my memory, the classroom was very dark because the curtains were closed for watching the documentary, but it was a sunny day. On that day, I was fragile, vulnerable, and sitting on the dark dark chair.

The installation work About a thing is created based on my personal experience and memories of the Movement. The made-to-size black chair and desk are wobbling in the wind to reflect my experience and subsequent subjective feelings. The scratch-off artwork Who has the Power reveals the simple but strong truth. It is hidden under the thin silver color when an audience scratches off the artwork. When the audience enters my regenerated memory About a thing, I allow them to bring into the work their own personal experiences and social, cultural, and political backgrounds.

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