in Frieze Seoul | 21 AUG 23

NAM Hwayeon: Coréen 109

The search for a physical manuscript raises questions of the ownership of identities.

in Frieze Seoul | 21 AUG 23

NAM Hwayeon, Coréen 109, 2014, single-channel video, sound, 10 min 15 sec. All rights reserved by the artist.

NAM Hwayeon hypothesizes a trajectory between physically inaccessible (un)historical events and the present, nonlinearly intertwining the past and the present to contemplate an impending time that will never come. Coréen 109 (2014) revolves around her journey to access the physical copy of Korean Buddhist document Jikji, kept in the National Library of France. The library, in response to her access request, only provided an internet archive link instead of the physical book. As a result, the artist collected data related to Jikji dispersed across the internet. Through this process, she traces the historical path of ownership of the object. The data collected traverses different temporal dimensions. As the object detaches from reality and becomes abstracted, it raises questions about whether this process can be a substitute for the physical experience of the material. NAM imagines the unattainability of complete records, filling it with imagination and fabrication, and transforms its incompleteness into a latent matrix for speculative possibilities. She contemplates the concept and form of time that traverses from the future through the present to the past.

About the artist 

NAM Hwayeon (b.1979) focuses her attention on the performativity of research and the ontological contradictions of a choreography predicated on absence. On this basis, she has directed ongoing attention to the inscrutable aspects of time and temporary intervention in them, as well as fragility and contingency latent in presence and existence. Throughout her practice, she has presented her explorations of phenomena in which recorded time arrives in the present in new ways through different rhythms and cycles, including human beings, nature and history.