Installation view: Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, ARTSPECTRUM, Korea, 2016. Photo Byunghun Min / Halo Studio.


Triptych Light Box, 2016. 

Total dimension: 508,4 x 52,8 x 10 cm. Handcrafted white oak boxes, 36 black & white photographs taken in North Korea in 1951 and 2015. Printed on inkjet screen film, inserted between a transparent and a red acrylic sheet, LED lights, electrical cords. 

Apertures |Specters | Rifts engages borders both as ‘apertures’, ‘specters’, and ‘rifts’ by invoking unrealized aspirations for peace while considering the duration of the division of Korea and the red cold war filter that continues to permeate perceptions of North Korea.

Placed inside a triptych light box behind a red acrylic sheet are 36 black and white photographs of North Korea. Half the photographs are archival images found in the book Fra Nord Korea (From North Korea) by Danish journalist Kate Fleron, who traveled to North Korea in 1951 at the height of the Koran War as part of an international women’s delegation. The other half of the photographs were taken by the artist when she went to North Korea and crossed the DMZ into South Korea as part of another international women’s delegation in 2015, which marked the 70th anniversary of the division of Korea.

At a distance, the light box resembles an abstract border and the photographs inside are not discernible. In order to interact with the images, one has to move into close proximity. Doing so, one becomes enmeshed in the red glow emanating from the light box, which intimates a shifting aperture as one’s eyes have to readjust to the changing lighting conditions.

The work suggests that engaging with the photographs from the two women’s delegations within these shifting viewing situations, other modes of seeing may emerge and prompt an ethics and aesthetic of recognition beyond the red cold war filter that permeate images of North Korea.


The participants of Women Cross DMZ.

Guston Sondin-Kung.

Realized with support from Leeum Samsung Museum of Art and The Danish Arts Council.