DAD, 2020 🍈
Supported by Arts Council Korea
Exhibited at Old House, Seoul, Korea, 2020
DAD, 2020, installation view.

DAD_01, 2020,  shoe storage bench, sitting mat, books, single channel video (05’23”), dimensions variable.

DAD_02_Succulent Humans, 2020, dry moss, single channel video (looping), dimensions variable.

DAD_02, 2020, doormat, dry moss, single channel video (04’15”), dimensions variable.

DAD_03, 2020, sneakers, 3D printed crucifix, electric wire, dimensions variable.

Photo by Kyuho Shim

New Normal exhibits alternative types of families that are not considered to be categorized under the same umbrella of the "normality" defined by the Korean society. It is rather so natural to observe a situation where new terms are coined when a new phenomenon occurs and it cannot be described by the existing words. The term "new normal," an economics term and also a title of an American TV series, refers to a phenomenon which was previously abnormal that has now become the norm. The way people build relationships has changed and the relationship itself is defined differently now. Amid these changes, this exhibition focuses on relationship building in the queer world. 

Relationships amongst queers and other types of alternative families are no longer considered new as they are already part of our society in many different forms. Paradoxically they are a new norm because they cannot be explained through traditional criteria. "Normal" here refers to all queers including sexual and gender minority. "New normal" is not an argument towards placing queers into the "old normal" but rather an attempt to break up existing dichotomous normality and to see things from a new perspective. 

Koo Eunjeong has captured the relationship between individuals and society in her own unique and lyrical way. She reveals her new work Straight Position (2020) in the form of a "healing" Youtube clip. Certain social norms presented as the ideal model of living put severe pressure on individuals whose lives do not meet the standard norm, for these individuals the standard norms are filled with harsh and lonely meanings. Preventative action might be the best way to survive. We live our daily lives attempting to avoid the sadness and injustice that we might have felt in the first place. We then move on to the next action without much emotion so as not to collapse by surrounding violence.  

Woosung Lee pays attention to personal life in the complex and huge enclosure named family and society. His new work created in various sizes begins with ideas about relationships. He describes the relationship between two like two people as two fish and two lumps. The twos being together shoulder by shoulder or leaning on each other, or staying away from each other, look similar as the same kind from a universal point of view, but when seen closely they are actually separate beings. By capturing "now," which has already become the past, he mixes the difference and sameness of the past and the future, just as the slogan of the 2017 Queer Parade in Seoul "There's no LATER. We demand a CHANGE NOW!" The past that has not been left and the blurred future create a world beyond time in a monotone images.  

Huh, Need-you has explored the meaning of the body in society. In his DAD (2020) series, he depicts "three fathers," discussing their queer identity and the relationship between life and the religion of his family. He talks about his identity as a queer son of a pastor, comparing this with the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis, chapter 22. A man tying his shoelaces in a determined way, rough hands washing vulnerable legs, and a shoe hung high above with a holy foot trace on which lives are growing on are the symbols of three fathers: biological father, daddy as a boyfriend in the queer world and God the Father. They are heading somewhere that does not exist.  

A new series Dead-slow (2020) by Yezoi Hwang starts with accessing her private memory, visualizing uncomfort through a metaphor. Everyone has stories about family and themself before establishing their sexual identity and these memories become blurred over time. She meets again by chance a person of the past and asks what her feelings were, touching upon this blurred time. She removes memories and feelings piece by piece and discovers a vivid face, and the face answers in a quiet but clear voice. Now feelings that had once stopped a long time ago flow again at their natural speed.  

The forms of relationships presented in New Normal are from the traditional perspective of what is considered the norm, an existing future and a functioning present. This show questions how other relationships that are not fully included in the category of what is considered a normal family, can be explained or if this must be explained. 

Some things work by themselves when they are closely linked to our lives without them having to be amplified or persuaded. These things may be like life itself. We see many aspects of relationships in New Normal. I hope this show may resonate not only for 'those', but also for 'us', so that one wandering around the works could get a piece of consolation.
written by Gyusik Lee