Che One-joon

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Artist: Che One-joon

Works at: Seoul Art Space_GeumCheon
Stays in: 2012
Genre: Visual Arts
Group Exhibition
2012 Urban Synesthesia, ARKI Gallery, Taipei
      Seoul Photo Festival, Seoul metropolitan Museum of Art, Seoul
      Restoration, Museum of peace_space99, Seoul
      Les Modules Palais de Tokyo, Paris
      Piece pour le Pavillon, HAU2, Berlin
      Piece pour le Pavillon, La Ménagerie de Verre, Paris
2011 The 11th Hermes Korea Art Prize, Atelier Hermes, Seoul, Korea
      Fashion info Art, Plateau gallery, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul
2010 The Flower on the Snow, Daejeon Museum of Modern Art, Daejeon
      Seoul Photo Festival, Seoul metropolitan Museum of Art, Seoul
      XyZ CITY, Timesquare, Seoul
      Mouth to Mouth to Mouth, Five Korean Contemporary Artists, Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, Serbia
      A Monumental Tour, Coreana Museum of Art, Space*C, Seoul
       Empty House, Songwon Art center, Seoul
2009 New political art in Korea since the 1990s: Bad boys here and now, Gyeonggi Museum of Moden Art, Ansan, Korea
     Gwangju Design Biennale_Salim, Gwangju, Korea
      Photo-op, Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle
      Korea Young Artist, National Museum of Contemporary of Art, Gwacheon
2008 Taipei Biennial, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei
      International Festival of Contemporary Photography: Different Dimension,
      Novosibirsk State Art Museum, Novosibirsk
2007 Dual Space: Che onejoon & Liu ren, Gallery Mook, Beijing Dashanzi 798
      Around questions of urbanity, Canal de Isabel II, Madrid
2006 Door to Door 4, Alternative space Pool, Seoul
      Nine Landscapes of DongSung, Gallery Jungmiso, Seoul
2005 Portfolio 2005, Seoul metropolitan Museum of Art, Seoul
      K237 Area Improvement Project, Ssamzie Space, Seoul
2004 At First Sight, Dong-gu Art Center, Daegu, Korea
       Document, Seoul metropolitan Museum of Art, Seoul
2002 Independent Art Festival, Ssamzie Space, Seoul
2001 Independent Art Festival, Ssamzie Space, Seoul

2012 12thInternational new media festival, Hongdae station
        Korean Contemporary Art “Deep Structure”, Yebisu International Festival for Art&Alternative Visions, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography
2010 Experimental Film and Video Festival, Seoul
       The Street and Representing public space,
       Les Rencontres de la Photographie d'Arles, Arles
2007 G+SCREENING, Photography from Korea, INDEXG, Toronto  

2012   Artistic Creation Photoquai's Residencies Award, Quai Branly Museum, Total Foundation, Paris
2011   The 11th Hermes Korea Art Prize, Hermes Foundation, Seoul
2010   Ilwoo photography prize, Ilwoo Foundation, Seoul
2009   Honorable Mention, Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle, WA,USA
         Arko art center, Seoul
2006   Korean arts council, Seoul

2012-2013   Geumcheon art factory, Seoul
2011-2012   Palais de Tokyo, Le Pavillon, Paris
2011-2012   Samsung Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris
2009-2010   National Art Studio Changdong, Seoul
Publication2009   Geopolitics of the visible, Noonbit Publishing

 <From_the_series_Texas_Project-Hyangki_nae>,118x150cm, C-print, 2004

 <Spining Wheel_part3(Spinning Wheel)>, HD 16'16'', 3channel video, 2011

  <Spining Wheel_part3(Spinning Wheel)>, HD 16'16'', 3channel video, 2011

 28th of March,1895, HD16'25", 2012  




 28th of March,1895, HD16'25", 2012  



Che Onejoon

I sometimes think that the objects in my photographs have already left the photographs and are traveling somewhere else. On the other hand, I also find other traces that have failed to keep pace with the value of simultaneous recording. The trauma of those traces is expressed in the video. If my photographs read as clear day, my video symbolizes as another night.

Che Onejoon’s Spinning Wheel, for the Representation of a Cyclical History
Dongyeon Koh (Art Historian)
Korea has recently been included in the regions reached by an archiving fever. Interest in past historical memories, which had been alienated and lesser known or to which access had otherwise been stifled for various reasons, in place of official histories, has been constituting the mainstream in Korea’s contemporary art scene as well. The reason for such increased interest stams from issues regarding historical writing and reading, and the scope of historical resources have continually been raised in liberal arts, and that the domestic artist circles of Korea are embracing such trends. Of course, it is highly important to reconstruct and gain a fresh perspective of historical memories in the particular political circumstances of Korea. Simultaneously, we certainly cannot overlook the direct political, social effects stemming from such a special matter to our nation of Korea. The artist Che Onejoon deals precisely with such delicate aspects. The artist has mostly been working with discarded, alienated or forgotten military facilities and has been capturing how such facilities were either met with a desensitized general public or have remained hidden, but his works ultimately deal with historical memories which contain relevant political significances today. With respect to such, Che Onejoon leads us to reflect on both the possibilities and problems presented by the subject of the past’s memories in Korea’s contemporary art scene.
In particular, works by Che, who has recently transitioned aggressively to the medium of video, deal with past ‘memories’ of which scarce traces remain. Whether the artist’s photography to date has been of military facilities, U.S. military bases, conflict zones and red light districts either discarded or isolated from society in our time, the artist unearths past memories related to the same place in a black and white movie containing a ‘torture’ scene, which the artist exhibited at the Peace Museum earlier this year, and <Spinning Wheel>, in which the artist has dealt with the Mullae area. I.e., the artist’s interests have arguably shifted to become more historical and vertical. In Particular, Che is exposing stories excluded from the official history of Mullae-dong- that Mullaedong was a well-known industrial zone since the Japanese Colonial Era and formed a major base of the iron industry in the 1960s-1970s as well and is currently a place where small-business ironworkers and artists based in and around the Seoul Art Space_Mullae coexist after the factories have disappeared or left the city. The first is that guns, the purchasing and selling of which is legally banned in Korea, are being manufactured in Mullae-dong by small-business ironsmiths who had lost their business in the 1980s-1990s. The second is that in Mullae-dong there has existed all along a former hideout used by Park Chung-hee when he was a major general in the army and plotted the May 16th military coup d’ état. (There still stands a statue of former President Park Chung-hee in Mullae Park).
Of course it may be construed as inappropriate to judge and represent a certain place based on a few particular memories. Even more problematic is an attempt to handle the memories of a certain place based on a kind of hearsay, of possibly being partially of coincidences at that and therefore being perhaps meaningless today, or of which there does not even exist statistical data because they constitute illegal acts. However, an official and universal history is indeed what experimental documentary artists seek to pursue. In fact, these days historical novels or documentaries do not hesitate to imagine the past or to explain it through various stories using only a few traces rather than by revealing an absolute historical truth. The documentary director Des Belle of <The Last Storyteller> develops a typical archive in connection with a story from a novel, and not from an “ascertained” historical fact or even oral history.
Che's <Spining Wheel> also exhibits differences from traditional documentaries. The first part of the documentary shows the current state of Mullae-dong and the second part transitions to a film drama featuring actors, although it partially relies on the artist’s actual experiences. Finally, a couple of actors playing the parts of artists in part three (Che Onejoon himself and another artist who currently works in Mullae-dong) execute an action related to an important historical memory which has been passed down in Mullae-dong. The Mullae-dong artist who has been creating representational sculptures melts a sculpture that resembles the Park Chunghee statue in Mullae Park and proceeds to build a gun. A statue of Park Chunghee, as a symbol of a powerful military regime, hands ordinary artists the violent means of a gun. However, the Mullaedong artist fatally shoots himself by accident while experimenting with the gun in a forested hillside. This bizarre death of the artist in the movie, on one hand, demonstrates that rebuilding past history is not an easy task. Regardless of the artists’ intentions, their attempt to reproduce a past memory in the present ends in failure, despite this being a movie. As if to reflect the origin of the place name of ‘Mullae’, meaning to rotate again and again, a history of violence has been repeated.
However, we must guard against interpreting past memories as a kind of trauma which exists but cannot be clearly defined. It is because, as noted by the author of Present Pasts (2003) Andrea Huyssen, although our memories regarding the past are limited and archives are mere traces, defining past memories as things which are un-representable itself is what is actually preferred by the classes which have embraced the established, official version of history. In other words, it is because the Park Chunghee statue is a symbol of violent force, or the woes of the small-business ironworkers in Mullae-dong who had no choice but to commit a crime, other than the official history regarding Mullae as a laborer of industrialization and modernization and even as a main location of a military revolution, amount to important historical traces which must not be forgotten even if a complete representation of them were impossible. Furthermore, historic situations of which no resources remain or which cannot escape being forgotten are, before being issues of memory and representation as explained in liberal arts, specific and direct political, historical and military realities. As a result, the writer has even greater anticipation regarding how Che Onejoon’s documentaries, or 'mockumentaries' in the artist's terms will unfold in the future to achieve the dual ends of possessing responsibility toward history and an open interpretation.