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All About Love: Sara Sejin Chang and Young Joon Kwak at Arko Art Center

May 19–July 17, 2022

Artist talk: May 19, 2022, with Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide) and Young Joon Kwak, Haeju Kim (Artistic Director, Busan Biennale 2022), and Jae-seok Kim (Creative Director, Gallery Hyundai)

ARKO Art Center is pleased to present the 2022 invitational exhibition, All About Love: Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide) and Young Joon Kwak. The exhibition invites Korean-Dutch artist Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide) and Korean-American artist Young Joon Kwak, two internationally active artists of Korean descent. It is the first museum exhibition in Korea by the artists who focus on themes of the deconstruction of binary system of looking into one’s identity, Western-centric history writing, and patriarchal authority. The exhibition examines the ways in which the artists engage with their work to overcome and heal collective traumas, and the practices that develop a sense of community and collective responsibility.

Chang dismantles myths and colonial narratives behind transnational and transracial adoption and presents the stories of those affected by forced adoption. By honoring and centering two young mothers, who were coerced to give up their children for the transnational adoption industry, the work raises urgent and fundamental questions, “why the adoption countries, including Korea, failed to protect their children and the mothers from being separated from each other and adoptees being alienated from their motherland countries.” Chang’s work is an indictment of unjustified violence against human rights in transnational adoption as well as a practice that enables us to restore our humanity and to heal those who have been traumatized.

In Kwak’s work, unruly movements and a swirl of queer gestures embody a form of resistance against the patriarchal gaze and the violence of objectification. These aesthetic strategies are grounded in Kwak’s desire to uncover different ways of understanding our bodies and discovering new forms of intimacy across social differences. Kwak also focuses on the multiplicity and hybridity of identities, helping audiences explore and question their own identities and have a new understanding in the bodies of queers and transgenders. Their work explores otherness in their self and embraces their community in collective action.

All About Love: Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide) and Young Joon Kwak intends to reveal how this transformative love has the potential to unravel social problems and resonate with its powerful potential. The two artists, seemingly unrelated and independent, are connected to the society in which we depend on each other to build a community through empathy and solidarity. Their works correspond to the belief in love that builds a better society and community, and the belief in courage that battles against a wide-spread systemic discrimination.

The exhibition takes its title from All About Love, a groundbreaking book by bell hooks published in 1999. In the book, hooks provides new ways to think about the meaning of love that is more than heterosexual romantic, but a transformative love that brings change to everyday lives. The two artists’ practices in love lead us to collectively confront the injustices of the past, alienation, and hostility in oblivion.

Arko Art Center, Arts Council Korea
3 Dongsung-gil, Jongno-gu
Gallery 1
03087 Seoul
South Korea