Past Exhibition

Hyun A Cho: I would like to hear someone’s voice. The radio is my only friend.

April 26 – March 21, 2017

Art Sonje Center 3F

Hyun A Cho: I would like to hear someone’s voice. The radio is my only friend.

Well known for exhibiting experimental contemporary art practices, Art Sonje Center (Director: Sunjung Kim) presents Hyun A Cho’s solo exhibition I would like to h/ear someone’s voice. The radio is my only friend. Installed throughout our third floor galleries, this exhibition features Cho’s 10 Voices 10 Times (2016-17) and The Song for O (2017) which is based on research concerning the preponderance of ‘lonely deaths’ that are increasingly common in Korea and Japan. Cho’s The Songs of Fine Gravel (2016) and The Pissing Match (2016) are video works which explore the artist’s position as an ‘inter-mediator’ in terms of her production of both visual and text-oriented works. Her 35mm slide projections Giotto’s Blue (2017) and Hole, Whole, Hall (2017), present a series of drawing and photographic works, which will be shown here for the first time. On the occasion of Cho’s solo exhibition at Art Sonje Center, an artist talk will take place in the Parallax Hanok at 3pm on Saturday, the 13th of May 2017, with three panelists, including Seung-ki Min (Philosopher), Haejin PAHNG (critic) and Minwha Yun (independent curator).

For the past year, Hyun A Cho has been following fragments of the life stories of those who have faced ‘a lonely death’ and have lived in ‘a no-relation society’ in Korea and Japan. Cho’s solo exhibition I would like to hear someone’s voice held at Cake Gallery, Hwanghak-dong in October 2016, presented the first outcome of the artist’s research into this startling phenomenon.

The “no-relationship society” is a social phenomenon that has swept across Japan, triggered by a television program produced by the “No-Relationship Society Project Team” of Japan’s national public broadcasting organization NHK in 2010. “No-relationship death” refers to the situation of facing death alone as the bonds between people continue to weaken through the alienation of contemporary society. The increasing number of single-person households, high youth unemployment, low birth-rate, aging population, and the rise of lonely deaths has become a serious social issue. Cho’s project titled, I would like to h/ear someone’s voice, was inspired by the story of a man that the NHK team had met. He was a homeless person who lived on a park bench at Shinjuku in the middle of Tokyo. The man murmured “I would like to hear someone’s voice” to the NHK team as he took out a radio from his backpack, and said “This radio is the only friend of mine.”

Cho met ten people in person who were each facing a solitary death in Korea or Japan. She interviewed, recorded and transcribed their life stories. The original voices were translated – Korean to Japanese, and vice versa. In addition, the Korean text was translated phonetically so the Japanese participants could give voice to the Korean text. Having exchanged material for narration, the readers narrated the exchanged life stories and their voices were recorded. In Cho’s installation, these voices resonate and mix simultaneously through 10 radios. When a visitor sits at the desk of radios, the sonorous voices become silent and only the frequency of a radio belonging to that particular visitor will be open, so he/she can listen to someone’s voice only from that radio. Thus the audience will have the experience of listening to ten sonorous voices tangled together and then the singular person, whose voice will briefly occupy the gallery. Cho hopes that this device would invite a diverse audience to transform their experience of listening into a form of ontological embodiment.

Two single channel video works, The Songs of Fine Gravel (2016) and The Pissing Match (2016) rotate 360 degrees infinitely with a velocity and direction of their own. Sometimes these two videos cross each other and then drift apart, representing the artist herself as an ‘inter-mediator’ who listened to the life stories of five people in Korea and Japan respectively for this project and then conveyed their storytelling back to one another. The texts and sounds of The Songs of Fine Gravel are written and composed by Hyun A Cho and Manfred Werder, a Swiss conceptual composer and musician.

Cho’s new works, a series of 7 drawings and photographs and two 35mm slide projections Giotto’s Blue (2017) and Hole, Whole, Hall (2017) are also shown in this exhibition. Composed of exquisite and direct images, these works can become a visual and conceptual device for the audience to step in, focus and understand the artist’s complex world.

Hyun A Cho studied Fine Art Media and Photography at the Slade School of Fine Art (UCL) and the Royal College of Art in London. While working with writing, performance, video/sound installation and photography, Hyun A Cho (b. 1974) has explored the presence of insignificant ‘folds’ within ‘various forms of life’. Basing her work on her own private experiences, the artist reflects upon the notion of a floating, wandering existence by composing her narratives around contemporary living conditions. Concerned with points of rupture, symptoms of beauty, and the ambiguities of our human condition and reality, Cho weaves her practice around the intellectual, psychological and physical spaces of impossibility as well as around the state of the undetermined that is derived from language, time, memories, histories and places.

Cho has had solo exhibitions at Cake Gallery (2016) and Project Space SARUBIA (2014) in Seoul and participated in interdisciplinary projects and exhibitions at Arko Art Center, Seoul (2015 – 2016), Box Theatre; Seoul Art Space Mullae (2015), INSA Art Space, Seoul (2014), Audio Visual Pavilion, Seoul (2014) and the National Museum of Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon (2012).

Cho has consistently published her books to coincide with her projects and exhibitions since 2012, including;
Des Grands Sphinx (2012-2013)

Effaced (2014)

SCALAR 83312 (2015)

I would like to hear someone’s voice. (2016)

* Performance: The Song for O

Date: 2017.04.29 (Sat), 2017. 04.30 (Sun)


April 26 – March 21, 2017
Art Sonje Center 3F
Hyun A Cho
Hosted by
Art Sonje Center
Minhwa Yun
Sound/Video supervisor
Go Byeong Eui
Exhibition installation assistant
Hwang Hyoduck
Research coordinator in Japan
Eunhee Lee
Hey Joe (Hyoun Youl Joe, Taeyong Jo)