BY JESSICA FALEIRO
Korean artist Kyungwoo Chun became known for his blurred photographic portraits which dealt with time and space in an unconventional way. Born in Korea in 1969, Kyungwoo Chun first studied fine arts there before moving to Germany for further studies and where he started to work on Europe-based arts projects.
He is also known for bringing to life participatory performances and collaborations in cities across the world, including Dusseldorf, Barcelona, Seoul, Berlin, Prague, Liverpool, Lisbon, Copenhagen and New York.
His work has been presented at numerous solo exhibitions in Europe and Korea, and he is the recipient of numerous grants and awards for his work.
Chun's first solo exhibition Song without Lyrics in Goa opened on August 19 and will run until November 11, 2023, at Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts at Altinho, Panjim, from 10 am to 6.30 pm – Monday to Saturday. It presents a series of in-situ, photographic, video and performance works.
The title piece for the exhibition, “Song without Lyrics”, is an extraordinary, original performance piece made in collaboration with Ektaal Children’s Choir in Goa and Sunaparanta Goa.
Each child from the choir was invited to interpret sounds and rhythms based on picture scores developed by Koreans with hearing and speaking disabilities.
The participants in Korea were neither musicians nor composers, but they composed 16 scores of music using a system that they developed, using circles, numbers and colours to denote a note, its volume, its tone and the sequence in which it is to be played.
Chun said, "I was curious about how people with hearing and speaking disabilities experienced music, and I wanted to explore other ways of speaking and listening."
Chun’s video recording of the Goan choir’s interpretive performance of these scores is on play in a loop in one room as you enter the gallery. Another room displays the scores and a selection of 6 hanging bells with a hammer, encouraging the public to play the compositions themselves.
In this way, “Songs without Lyrics” expands our capacities for listening to sounds that are unknown, creating alternatives for lyrics with no notes.
Another piece called “Resonance”, also made in Goa, has photographs of children singing to trees, where nature is the protagonist. Chun also has video displays set up of two of the children, cousins, their backs towards us, singing two different Marathi songs that they’ve individually chosen.
“Children are interesting to work with because they’re innocent and more honest in their reactions and interactions,” says Chun.
There are eight works on display in the gallery, each one as distinct as can be from the next, but the common thread holding them all together is Chun’s ability to create a space for ordinary people to interact with or experience each other, and through that process, discover something deep and profound about themselves.
The work in this solo exhibition is a testament to Chun’s ability to collaborate with people in powerful ways that can help them connect in intimate ways to each other and themselves.