There Is No Truth in Our Circumstances
Jang un Kim , Independent curator/art critic
We are more familiar with the artist group “Lim Minouk & Frederic Michon” or “Pidgin Collective” than her name Lim Minouk by itself. Accordingly, it’s quite hard to think of any artworks associated with her name alone. Whatever group she was in or whatever name she has adopted, there is no denying that each and every art project she had participated or planned has always been so phenomenal that it expanded the notion of fine art amid all the institutionalized fine art regime or practice, suggesting new perspectives on fine art.
However, it is not quite correct to describe her art project as an accommodation of a rather trendy projects-based art practice often found in contemporary art scene. Lim Minouk has always attempted to challenge against the fortress of fine art institutionally established since modernism, while expanding "extension (denotation)” and “intension” of fine art. Going beyond the subject matter regarding fine art, Lim’s such attempt can be considered as her constant efforts for “verbal” and receptive yet non-isolated art making to be validated within our society. The project by Lim Minouk in conjunction with Frederic Michon also clearly conveys the context mentioned above; firstly, Lim associates with the “social signified” that the term “artists couple” implies and concurrently she betrays the dimension of curiosity that our society bears with regard to the term, through which she ends up extending the relationship to a broader or social level. After researching on a relationship between artists and art institutions (museums) and between employers and employees, Lim reconstructed and betrayed the trite meaning of such relationships and visualized them into an architectural space where new relationships can be established. Furthermore, she inserted an object that stands for an oscillation of tensional relationships of our society into the middle of the architectural space. Lim Minouk’s such interest in “social network relation” subsequently expands to a city and its constituency. is an art project that was to commemorate the city of “Ganggyeong” and to project its contemporary denotation. In this project, Lim not only attempts to represent the unique history and the images of “Ganggyeong, ” but also tries out a connection with contemporary cultural phenomena peculiar to the city. Followed by the connection, Lim created five different ruptured yet self-confessional rhetoric, which are not just animated novels that feature the constituency of Ganggyeong, but more like a metaphorical implication of our struggle and desire rendered among all the capitalized community including cities and farm villages. Furthermore, the artist criticizes against the cultural “hot potato” namely “globalization” by applying socially-accepted pictograms, such as “Stop” and “Sincere Construction,” the trite expressions and terminologies that no one actually believes in but should be posted without any question. Lim also entitles those cliched complaints and discontents of intellectuals toward “development” as “narcissistic and hysterical spasm” peculiar to the intellectuals. Then again, the animated novels throw a question if we can negotiate with our destiny for a regression to the community made under influence of capitalism.
Another version of Ganggyeong project would be her recent one . This project was an attempt to visualize the point where Youngdeungpo’s capital-oriented developmental rationale and the personal histories of its constituency come to clash; while rap music becomes a metaphor for the clashing point, Lim performed in the center of Youngdeungpo area and afterward reedited them in a music-video style. This kind of her critical mind became manifested also in the traveler’s guidebook organized as a collateral program of the 3rd Gwangju Biennale, as well as in of “Rediscovery of Seoul” series, yet this time in more popular format. Employing the format of a traveler’s guidebook, these two projects attempt to subvert the notion of space that local communities tend to perceive as “Sollen (oughtness),” and at the same time suggest new meanings of the space. is an attempt to newly represent an image of Korea using the notion of “locomotion,” whilst project is a reinterpretation of Garibong dong, a typical residential district for laborers, in “multi-cultural” context. The two projects were intended to suggest brand new relationships and understandings by rediscovering the particular contexts of the spaces and conferring new contexts onto them.
Lim’s attention on relations soon after expanded to an operation of active and organic archives or a social platform. In terms of its appearance, the project is an installation piece made of two containers connected to each other in front of a museum. But, the act of renovating the two containers does not necessarily explain this multifaceted project entirely. Lim Minouk arranged this container as a platform where cultural or art professionals can interact with general public and she organized temporary yet various art & cultural events around the container. Through on-going programs within the project, the artist herself also groped for a new relation or connection with general public. Also, sponsored by Haja Center was a similar one to . This time, the project was targeted only for the youth but it was pretty much the same as in a sense that she created a place where the youth can interact with art professionals, through which she attempted to initiate a ground-breaking cultural movement. Lim’s such attempt can be interpreted as a founding of a laboratory where she could systematically set up a social ground for alternative & experimental art practice, while subverting the institutional authorities and customs. Consequently, Lim Minouk tends to focus on setting up the “least common multiple” that her rhetoric can be implemented rather than suggesting an alternative art project or emphasizing the concept and the execution of art projects. Accordingly, Lim’s invention (art project) is neither a declared entity nor a complete work, but instead it is more like an immaterial device or a verbal operating principle and a programming language as an open source. Lim’s such approach represents her own survival strategy that denies the fetishism toward project-based art praxis in contemporary art scene, as well as the distribution of artists themselves as a metaphor for fetish within our society. This can probably be understood as an attempt to establish her own stance as a creator of tactics while refusing an aesthetic value of her artwork. Such attempt can also be interpreted as a device for artists to pursue the condition for survival within much expanded and lenient regime of neo-liberalism. Shifting her attention from aesthetics to ethics, Lim Minouk might eventually throw an ethical question on our circumstance, rather than attempting to suggest an aesthetical solution for it. Amid all the rapid conversions and imminent crisis of contemporary art scene, Lim Minouk’s such attempt or experiment is significant enough.