Art Sonje Banner Project #6: Minouk Lim, Monument 300 – Chasing Watermarks

Art Sonje Banner Project #6: Minouk Lim, Monument 300 – Chasing Watermarks

Art Sonje Center presents Minouk Lim’s Monument 300 – Chasing Watermarks(2014-15) as its sixth Banner Project. Monument 300 – Chasing Watermarks (2014-15) is an ongoing project that searches for the 300 people perished from the site of the Waterworks Center in Cheorwon, Korea. Located in Sayo-ri, Cheorwon-eup, Cheorwon-gun, Gangwon-do, the Waterworks Center was the first water supply facility constructed in Gangwon-do in 1936 during the Japanese colonial period. It was designated as the Registered Cultural Heritage No.160 in 2005. The sign standing at the entrance reads, “After Korea’s independence, the area was ruled by the communist North and witnessed the Korean War. And here, about 300 people accused of being pro-Japanese and anti-communist were shot or buried alive inside the water tanks.” Faced with this peculiar description represented only by the number 300, The Artist became curious about what had actually happened and began searching for their traces with the sociologistSunghoon Han(Research Professor, Institute for History and Space Studies,Yonsei University).

After continuous research and inquires, Lim and Han finally met the daughters of one of the missing people, who were known to be taken to North Korea from the Waterworks site during the Korean War. The sisters learned that hostages including their father held at the Cheorwon Provincial Hospital had been transferred to the Waterworks site due to U.S. bombardment, so they went to see their father there. In the spring of 1951, the sisters decided to rescue their father and hid in a deserted house in front of the Waterworks site during the night. They failed to rescue him however, as the fierce battle with flare bombs above the site brightly lit the area. The sisters fell asleep afterwards, and when they returned to the site the next day, people had already disappeared from the site. This was a different testimony from what was written on the sign in front of the Waterworks site. Lim and Han could not trace all the facts on what exactly happened and who were those people that were taken to the site. Monument 300 – Chasing Watermarks became a suspended project caught in between the real and fiction, a zone which one cannot access, just like the DMZ.

The performance Monument 300 – Chasing Watermarks took place on December 18th, 2014 on a bus on its way to Cheorwon from Seoul, as well as at the Waterworks site. Inside the bus, Lim and Han became DJs and ran a live radio show called Cine Radio Bus, which comprised of quizzes about the DMZ and music of various genres.When they arrived at the Cheorwon Waterworks site at dusk, transparent objects, which were monuments of some sort, were waiting for the visitors. They were asked to find these “monuments” with the help of hand lanterns, making each step as if carefully avoiding landmines. Whoever found the “monuments” participated in the “documentation of future information” by informing the artist ofthe number written on the object. The search for the lost 300 people continues today, and this exhibition shows the process of the research, as well as the remaining questions.


About the Artist
Minouk Lim was born in 1968 in Daejeon, South Korea. Lim moved to Paris in 1988 and graduated from the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 1995. Before coming back to Korea, Lim was a founding member of General Genius, a collective of seven visual artists and graphic designers. Upon her return to Korea in 2004, Lim founded the Pidgin Collective to continue her inquiry and artistic practice on the issue of identity in the context of the relationship between the individual and the community within a society. Along with her practice as an artist, Lim also worked as an art director at the Haja Center (the Seoul Youth Factory for Alternative Culture) until 2007. Lim’s major solo exhibitions include presentations at the Portikus, Frankfurt (2015); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2012); Freer | Sackler Gallery, Smith sonian Institution, Washington D.C. (2011); PKM Gallery, Seoul (2011); and Art Sonje Center, Seoul (2008). Since 2010, starting at Madrid, Lim has been presenting a series of site-specific performances including FireCliff, S.O.S-Adoptive Dissensus (2009), and Navigation ID (2014), which was presented at the opening of the10th Gwangju Biennale.


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 presentations in 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. Paul Kajander, Young In Hong, Sung Hwan Kim, NOH Suntag, and Heman Chong have participated in the Banner Project.