siren eun young jung
15 December 2016 – 27 February 2017
Over the last eight years, siren eun young jung (b. 1974, Korea) has been investigating and challenging cultural expectations and genre constructs in Korean society through the lens of Yeosung Gukgeuk, a traditional type of Korean theatre combining singing and dancing that reached its peak of popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, falling out of favour thereafter. While Yeosung Gukgeuk maintains the conventional roles of melodrama, it exclusively features women actors who perform all characters in an intense process of genre-shifting. Working across a wide range of mediums such as films, photographs, performances, and installations, the artist has produced several works, endowed with a lush visual imagery, that deeply engage the aging community of Yeosung Gukgeuk practitioners addressing issues of resistance, affect, and performativity.
Wrong Indexing: Yeoseong Gukgeuk Archive
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.