Past Exhibition

Art Sonje Banner Project #4: NOH Suntag – To Survive vs. Once Arrived

December 05, 2014 – January 30, 2015

The Rear Façade of Art Sonje Center

Art Sonje Banner Project #4: NOH Suntag – To Survive vs. Once Arrived

Art Sonje Center presents NOH Suntag’s photograph To Survive vs. Once Arrived (2012) as its fourth Banner Project. NOH captures social and political contexts of the contemporary Korean society through his documentary photography. For the past years, he has been tracing the multifaceted context resulting from the peculiar situation of the divided country. In his recent works, he also has documented objectively the everyday life of the people under such circumstances. To Survive vs. Once Arrived, is a series of photographs that reveal moments of the Security Tour operated in the border area near the DMZ in Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do. For the project, NOH intervenes in various sites of the Security Tour by inserting the visitors’ portraits on their paths. The desire to view the other side is clearly pictured in his photographs taken around the border. The image selected for the Banner Project presents the No Photography sign and a soldier gazing at the DMZ from an observatory deck in Cheorwon.


At the DMZ border, different gazes and desires become entangled. South Korea tries to see the North while desiring to hide itself. Like­wise, North Korea watches and conceals itself from the South. Both observe the other and hide from the other’s view at the same time. One hides oneself because of an unwillingness to be observed by the enemy, and one protects oneself from the enemy’s fire pow­er because of an unwillingness to be shot. To hide and to protect one­self are two powerful desires that drive both sides. Hence, the state­ment, “to survive, you need to find them, and you must hide yourself!” is an interesting one. Along the borderline, one oscillates between covering and seeking oneself. Here, covering oneself is done not to be noticed, and seeking the other is done not to be shot. The paradox of having to both seek and hide demands that the recipient of the command real­izes the impossible.

 At least, in South Korea, the DMZ has become a touristic spot, well visited by local and interna­tional guests alike. What would be the obligation of the people who visit such a peculiar site? It is Sightseeing. It is taking pictures of the specific time and space where they encounter each other. The cameras aim at one another, at the same time becoming the target of the shooting.

Excerptfrom the artist statement


NOH Suntag (born 1971, Seoul, Korea) lives and works in Seoul. NOH explores the way in which the Korean War is still alive and present in today’s Korean society. It is to investigate the gaps in the “power of division,” which often instigate interpretations that work for their own advantages by including war and division in the fixed chapters of history. His major solo exhibitions include Forgetting Machines (2012) at Hakgojae Gallery, Seoul; reallyGood murder (2010) at Sangsangmadang, Seoul; and Lunatic Fidelity (2010) at GoEun Museum of Photography, Busan. His works have also been shown in group exhibitions such as Oh My Complex at Württembergischer Kunstverein, in Stuttgart, Germany; Demonstrations-Making Normative Orders at Frankfurter Kunstverein, in Frankfurt, Germany. In 2012, NOH was awarded the Dong-gang International Photo Festival prize, and in 2014, he received the Korea Artist Prize from the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea.


+ Art Sonje Banner Project

Art Sonje Banner Project, initiated in November 2013, uses the rear façade of the Art Sonje Center to introduce large art prints. Unlike with formal gallery spaces within the museum, the Banner Project further expands the spatial range of art appreciation and allows for art to intervene the surrounding environment and public places. Here, the artwork that has come out to the space of everyday life meets not only museum visitors but the general public as well. This project makes art an everyday experience for everyone that passes by the neighborhood and offers an opportunity to convey the cultural and artistic prospect of the Samcheongdong district, where Art Sonje Center stands.

December 05, 2014 - January 30, 2015
The Rear Façade of Art Sonje Center
NOH Suntag
Organized by
Art Sonje Center
Curated by
Supported by
Arts Council Korea, DMZ PEACE PROJECT