As a genre of theatre that features exclusively women actors, Yeoseong Gukgeuk reached the peak of popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, its success being tightly intertwined with the process of modernisation of South Korea. While today it lingers on the verge of extinction, in the post-colonial period Yeoseong Gukgeuk opened up a space for women to embody “other” identities and perform different subjectivities. Reinventing the traditional Korean theatre, they brought the process of gender-shifting to the limelight and subverted socially acceptable norms by blurring conventional gender binaries. Since 2008, siren eun young jung has investigated the public and private lives of Yeoseong Gukgeuk performers who, after the genre fell out of favour, went on to live disparate lives. This configuration of archival materials offers an insight into the artist’s research process and articulates the politics of recollecting, weaving together queer desires and patterns of resistance, affective matters and subversive subjectivities, gender fluidity and the performance of difference.
Wrong Indexing: Yeoseong Gukgeuk Archive is curated by Dr Anna Lovecchio, Curator, Residencies.
siren eun young jung (b. 1974, South Korea) works across a wide range of mediums such as film, photography, performance, and installation. She focuses on the politics of affect and historical and political acts of resistance. Her works have been included in numerous group exhibitions such as the Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (2016-2017); The 8th Climate (What does art do?), 11th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2016); Discordant Harmony, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan (2015); and 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, QAGOMA, Brisbane, Australia (2015) among others. She was awarded the Hermès Foundation Missulsang Prize in 2013.
Image credit: siren eun young jung, Wrong Indexing, photographs, dimensions variable, 2016. Courtesy the artist.