Exhibited at two sites, the UniMARU in Paju and the Jejin Station in Goseong located in Gangwon Province, Shinwook Kim’s imagery works assess the disconnection and the history of Korea as experienced through colonization, war, and division. At the UniMARU in Paju, Kim presents works that trace the absence and disappearance of Korean tigers from the environmental and spatial perspectives, like an ethnographer.
An ongoing research project found that Korean tigers freely roamed around the peninsula for thousands of years, from the far north in Siberia down to the south in Jindo. Their routes, however, have been completely destroyed during the periods of colonialism and war. Kim demonstrates the process of tracking down Korean and international documents as he investigates the political and environmental factors that might have led to the disappearance of the Korean tigers.
Branching out from this grand narrative, the artist also presents stories about his family from a personal and microscopic point of view. Kim’s family left Hamgyong-namdo and Pyongan-bukdo (which are now in North Korea) as refugees and dreamt of returning to their hometown for the rest of their lives also describes their failure to return and the broken blood ties of the separated families. Shinwook Kim photographs not only to document and record history, but he also uses photography as a mnemonic medium in the act of remembering so that viewers can continue to recall and restore their memories.