Abdominal Routes by Hwayeon Nam (1979, KR) explores the phenomenon of time. It explores and considers time as a matter of personal experience, but also as a yardstick for history and society. The exhibition comprises a number of video works, a sound work and a series of photographs that take over the entire lower floor of Kunsthal Aarhus.
Three freely floating canvases display the video work Throbbing Dance (2017), which takes its starting point in the cult film Flashdance (1983) as it explores and demonstrates how time influences cultural codes. Back in its own day, the film served as inspiration for a dance troupe in North Korea, a place rarely associated with American popular culture. Based on the film, they invented the dance style ‘Lively Dance’, thereby positing the film in a markedly different context. In Nam’s video work, the dance reappears in yet another context as three South Korean dancers perform pieces from the film. The dancers are mimicking a trend in 2000s Korea, where individuals would upload dance videos on YouTube as a form of self-expression and self-representation on social media. Time is shown to be a factor that first strips a mainstream movie of its status in pop culture, only to subsequently transform it into a hyper-pop cultural phenomenon that can be appreciated by anyone and everyone on YouTube.
Hwayeon Nam is interested in the boundaries between individuals and history, between political and cultural heritage. When do we cease to be individuals and become part of history instead? She explores the social structures that govern us all, investigating time as the system upon which we build our shared reality. Various forms of archival materials often serve as the foundation of her works: she lifts objects, spaces and people out of their historical context and posit them within our present day in order to renegotiate their meaning and significance. In so doing, Nam highlights the structures and human desires that underpin cultural translation and, not least, cultural reproduction. Nam’s work makes it clear that the times in which we live will always be influenced by our perception of time. We are always embedded in time, rounded by our own era.
Source: Kunsthal Aarhus
J.M. Mørks Gade 13
8000 Aarhus C
Tue-fri 10-17, wed 10-21