May 29, 2022

The Fourthny

Art is beauty

Oh Myung Hee: ‘The Days were Snowy but Warm’

5 min read

Oh Myung Hee: ‘The Times were Snowy but Warm’
23 April – 27 November 2022
The Palazzo Mora

Next the Korean War, the place was impoverished and starving. Still to the women of all ages of Korea, the conclusion of the war also ushered in an era of own liberation. Japanese suppression gave way to a Western democratic process, opening the doorway to their wider social participation and, subsequent a article-civil war go to from Hollywood celebrity Marilyn Monroe in 1953, the doorways swung open even more.

Oh Myung Hee

My story starts with an previous photograph album

Oh Myung Hee

Nonetheless, the social undertow of male privilege and inertia meant that development has been remarkably gradual — and even much more marked when established versus Korea’s remarkable financial expansion around the very last 3 many years.

Images of a Korean family members: From her father in law’s photograph album, Oh Myung Hee juxtaposes the ‘main wife’ (bon-cheo) and the ‘second wife’ (cheop) on just about every facet, contrasting these solitary ladies with adult males emanating group strength.

It is this rigidity — and the resonance of feminine emotions inside a patriarchal modern society — that South Korean artist Oh Myung Hee interprets in her powerful new body of perform ‘The Times had been Snowy but Warm’, unveiled at this year’s Personal Structures exhibition in Palazzo Mora, Venice at the invitation of the European Cultural Centre.

This exhibition, which operates concurrently with the Venice Biennale up coming thirty day period, is themed close to Reflections — a notion that Oh Myung Hee has interpreted by both the great gaze of the historic lengthy lens and the close-up of deeply individual household tales.

Nostalgia, 2021. Acrylic on Canvas, Mother of Pearl

Inspired by a household photograph, found in her father-in-law’s album, she was struck by the problems and contradictions that Korean ladies have historically experienced to synthesize in get to access situation, intent and joy.

The put up-war transition intended that females, historically confined to and outlined by their position in the prolonged household for hundreds of a long time, began to realise their individual rights and talents to contribute to fields this sort of as politics, social affairs, religion and schooling. Yet this realisation was slow to translate to standing.

Mixing old procedures with new resources and technologies with old family members photos, Oh Myung Hee works by using Hwajo, traditional blossom and birds, in her mixed media perform as representations of femininity — a force at the moment splendid and free of charge — materialising women’s emotions in opposition to the historic realities of Korea’s male-dominated culture with its underlying Confucianism.

Through her occupation, she has also used an image of a flying scarf to symbolize her need for flexibility. Flexibility in all features of daily life, from the chains of traditional society, to her motivation to fly like a silk scarf in the wind.

This hottest exhibition builds on the effective vitality exhibited within her is effective because she came to prominence in the early nineties with an oeuvre featuring vivid scarves drifting in excess of green grass. Her paintings and visuals overflow with colors and emotions that search for to embody the strong prism of femininity and freedom.

In ‘The Times had been Snowy but Warm’, she travels through family members stories, through Westernisation, Korean traditionalism and pop society – notably a 1953 stop by by Marilyn Monroe to US troops stationed in Korea. The title of the exhibition paraphrases a Monroe job interview estimate, in which she describes her overall performance in front of 17,000 American troopers as “It was snowing but I felt warm”.

Pictures of womanhood: Oh Myung Hee juxtaposes a traditional Korean spouse in an unassuming, monochromatic costume, with scarcely clad, assured and absolutely free Monroe on a person facet, and Hye-Seok Nah, pioneering Korean feminist, author and artist on the other.

The stop by, through her honeymoon with newlywed Joe DiMaggio, was brave even by Western benchmarks and turned a important catalyst for the women of all ages of Korea. Piqued that far more supporters turned out in Japan to see Monroe in its place of him, the baseball participant refused to sign up for her in Korea. They divorced afterwards that calendar year.

His decline was Korea’s obtain. In choosing to go after her individual highway, this gorgeous absolutely free spirit impressed a lot of Korean girls to go after their have goals and become who they wished to be. ‘The Days have been Snowy but Warm’ worries an historic ‘narrative of sorrow’ bordering Korean girls, and considers how we will have to search back to move ahead, living and transforming in one particular unbroken chain of knowledge. out?v=4kNB0H7wUeA

2022 Venice Biennale. “memories of the seasons” 오명희(Oh Myung Hee)

“My operates communicate of a collective memory,” suggests Oh Myung Hee. “My generation did not right knowledge war nonetheless, we share the discomfort of our moms and grandmothers who bore the scars of war. In Korea, the lump in one’s coronary heart that is filled with pain is expressed as ‘Han.’ At initially glance, my will work might seem flashy, but a closer glimpse reveals the frailty which resembles the emotions of ‘Han’ or the DNA of thoughts.

Top secret Chamber, lacquer painted on antique furnishings from Jeju Island in Korea, mother of pearl, movie watch, 2022: Oh Myung Hee generates online video operates for a black lacquered cabinet from Jeju Island, where by she invested her summers as a kid, bringing the recollections ahead to our time and area.

“Today I read a different posting about an unknown soldier who died in the Korean War eventually acquiring rest in the arms of his family members. Though 70 yrs have now passed, the pain of getting rid of a loved ones member never diminishes, and I believe that that as Koreans we can all share the suffering. Even proper now, there is one more nation which is facing these kinds of suffering. It is my hope that the ache that Ukraine is struggling will appear to an close soon.

“Just as in lifetime, my operates aim to connect the message that nevertheless we confront pain, conflict and countless issues, spring comes around all over again, and just like bouquets bloom, so does hope and warmth.”

Oh Myung Hee: ‘The Days were Snowy but Warm’
23 April – 27 November 2022
The Palazzo Mora

©2022 Oh Myung Hee

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