The exhibition gathers and shows queer works, focusing on drag, an important term in queer politics. In general, drag, as seen in "drag queen" and "drag king". designates the play of the sexuality minority group to put on the opposite gender's costume and exaggerate his or her gestures. Thus, the exhibition might be considered as about queer art under the theme of queer or queer people. However, more than that, queer can be a broader term for variousphenomena that cross borders between any normative identities, such as race, class, andgender. It is for the very reason that drag, as we conceive, isnot confined to such cross dressing, but expanded to many figurative attempts to trespass and transform inbetween male andfemale, thing and human, everyday life and art, and a white cube and subculture. It is to slide from the widely accepted norms, sometimes go back to them, and then, create a new relationship to them. By doing so, to blur the boundaries between norms, or the dualities. It is the queer works that the exhibition would like to show.
The exhibition title, READ MY LIPS, comes from a catchy-phrase of a visual design group Gran Fury, which was active in the ACT-UP(AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) movement in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. Gran Fury's works reformed, recontextualized, and recirculated their appropriation of famous phrases, with the Situationist International's stragedy of appropriation, in order to alarm the American society about urgency and danger of the AIDS patients' death and human rights. However, the single borrowing of the phrase neither make the preence of Korean queer art visual, nor transform preexisting visual and artistic works in Korea into meaningful strategies of queer movement. We would like to look at the dim presence or potentiality of Korean queer art with the strategy of recontextualization and appropriation, and crossing and connecting. Ranging from painting and installation work to performance, podcast recording, and archive, the exhibition hopes to engender a field where the worksof different desires, different loves, anddifferent cultures crash together, and thus, to become an event that enlarges the term ofqueer into various contexts.
THe participating works and performances can be viewed under the terms of drag, disguise cross, freak, body, and love. Ibanjiha, a queer singer-songwrither and performer, makes songs crossing the boundaries including heterosexual norms and the paradox and tension in queer communities. Her performance is ironic due to the monstrous costume and sincere lyrics, andthus oscillates between perfect disguise and intimate truth. Sungjae Lee's performance, Fringe, is also based on disguise. In his previous performance in Sweden, an Asian man is standing midst of white people. In Korea, a Brazilian takes place of the man As an outsider,he hides his real appearance by wearing a luxurious mask and a white-featherd blazer. He disguise caressing the the fringe of the exhibition space immediately revokes and crosses the boundary ofcenter and periphery. Drawings of an illustrator Bob Kim explodes the subculture's energy in the middle of the gallery and crosses between the white cube and subculture. He takesimages from famous figures in popular culture and well-known high art and transforms them using his sense of satire and criticism. At first glance the recontextualized and degraded images seems to represent violent masculinity or femininity. However, the positions are traversed or mixed in a bizarre way. Bob Kim's drawings playing with the violation of norms and such crossing are freaks.Figures in Eunsae Lee's painting are freaks as well. One can see lunacy in the image of a drunken woman ith a malicious smileand that of a woman exposing her public part and lookinginto her smartphone. The provocative paintings resist to and violate thesocial stereotype of young women and here theweapon is their body, which is usually the object of voyeurism. Mire Lee's installation work presents a form of drag oscillating between a thing and a life. A piece of machine with a motor does not stop to move and parts of bodies are artificial joints. THose artificial-body-machine reminds of the replacement and disturbance between athing and a life and tremble with discomfort The nervous combination and movement might be agesture of desire in a closed circuit, or a metaphor for masochist love. Yongseok Oh's painting revokes of a creatur's birth and condenses or explodes erotic and primitive sensation in the figures. Myriad of torso images the artist has collected forms a typology in the artist's has collected forms a typology in the artist's world and becomes a borderless body, which does not possess the contour cutting inside and outside and the sex and gender. Moreover, the body-figure as a chaotic world cannot be discerned from a moment of birth or a moment of death. Lastly, Rita and Dongjin Seo expand their own queer into the gallery. Rita, the host of Queer Cast, will record the pod cast with a live audience, and thus, amplify communication and disturbance. Dongjin Seo opens his private archive in a small lounge a la Fasbinder, and thus, will plan sympathy and communication, or disturbance, with many presenceswho try to understand hisor her own desires.
The works in READ MY LIPS will cross different borders and norm in their own way. The exhibition does not attempt to call theworks as queer art, nor to redefine queer art through them. Rather, by bringing a wider concept of drag, it may confuse the image of queer art, which presenxe is not certain. Nonetheless, it can be the very queer-ness that cannot be explained with positive language. what we found out from the works are playful crossings by drag: a woman into monster, a monster into a man, a man into hermaphrodite, and a hermaphrodite into a thing. Wearing others' clothes, and by doing so, bearing another me, is the moment of frag that we attempt to grasp.
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