Grounded in personal stories, her short films bring together CGI animation, documentary filmmaking and political art. As she writes, “by working with animation, I am able to play with fiction and fantasy within a forbidden area and my artistic work is an extension of hypothetical possibility. I am able to go beyond the limit of my reality. By the particularity of animation which is distinguished from reality, I use the animation as a means to overcome my political situation.”
In her most recent body of work (including three of the films in this screening programme), Kwon has focused on the reality of a border – the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a strip of land that is 248 km long, approximately 4 km wide and serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea; animation allowing her to produce work in and about a forbidden area. Model village (2014) envisages an impossible visit to Kijong-dong, a propaganda village from the 1950s, situated in the DMZ. Pan Mun Jom (2013) goes further in the questioning on the fictional dimension of the DMZ by reducing to colour spots soldiers facing each other from both sides of the border. In 489 Years (2016), the best well known work in the series (it received an award at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen), Kwon gains access to the DMZ via the testimony of a former soldier, Kim. He talks about a place where people are forbidden, and where nature has totally regained its hold.
A testimony is also at the heart of Lack of evidence (2011) – its protagonist is a political refugee from Nigeria whose asylum application was refused because he could not produce any proof. Kwon is interested in the reconstruction of memory and the fictional dimension of testimony. “It is about credibility. A testimony to an experience when we cannot provide evidence, is evidence itself, according to its credibility.” (Kwon).
Kwon Hayoun graduated from Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains in 2011 and lives and works in France and in Korea. Her work has recently screened at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the 2016 San Sebastian Film Festival and Ars Electronica 2018. In 2015 she was awarded the Prize of the Friends of Palais de Tokyo.
In the presence of Kwon Hayoun and followed by a conversation between Kwon and Maria Palacios Cruz (LUX).
Part of London Korean Film Festival’s Artist Video strand – programmed and presented in partnership with LUX.
Lack of evidence (Manque de preuve)
Kwon Hayoun, France/South Korea, 2011, HD, 11 min
Kwon Hayoun, France/South Korea, 2014, HD, 10 min
Pan Mun Jom
Kwon Hayoun, France/South Korea, 2013, HD, 4min
Kwon Hayoun, France/South Korea, 2016, HD, 11 min