Jung Yun Roh: Living and Leaving
Exhibition runs: 16th - 19th December 2019 12-6pm
"We live in a complex society where diverse cultures and communities mix. Modern living requires us to have multiple identities, often by our own choice. In the solo exhibition ‘Living and Leaving’,
I present a visual Venn diagram representing the artist’s three different identities: manual labourer, artist and immigrant. All three identities are very different, perhaps incompatible, yet they co-exist in harmony.
The question of identity for an individual is not a binary choice but rather a process of finding answers throughout a lifetime’s experience. With the global metropolis of London as the backdrop to my lived experience, I would like to discuss how I explore the issue of multiple identities and reinterpret the spatial identity of a place.
The video work ‘[Li:ving] London’ records the search for an individual identity as a minimum wage worker, artist, and immigrant. It displays very personal matters such as my diary, but can also apply to anyone in different settings.
The project name [Li:ving] comes from the similar pronunciation but opposite meaning of 'live' and 'leave'.
‘[Li:ving] London’ began with my change of permanent residence when I moved to the UK in 2015. Since 2016 my status in the UK has been that of a minimum wage worker, a student, and an artist.
I work for four hours a day in the kitchen making sandwiches, but also see myself as an artist since I started to draw a specific area that I pass every day on the way home from work. These daily drawings on A3 paper were the minimum labour act and the trace of a day as an artist.
We all follow a daily routine which makes it difficult to think about the value and meaning of each day. I have tried to find the meaning and value of trivial things by revealing the daily life like the machine of the city workers, and to unfold the hybrid identity of the individual rather than defining the cognitive identity.
The second project ‘Brexit-365’ was a one-year series running from 2018 until April 2019. It was also a daily drawing series, this time using blue and red coloured pencils. As the title suggests, ‘Brexit-365’ was based on a year in the UK in the lead up to Brexit in 2019. An abstract drawing was produced every day until the date when Brexit was due to be finalised on 28th March 2019. In common with the previous project this was uploaded daily to SNS (Instagram and Facebook).
These 365 drawings have been combined with sound to be produced as a video. This extension to the project reveals subtle and diverse differences in the experiences of various people regarding the uncertainty over the current situation in the UK. The soundtrack to this work is the words 'Hello, Goodbye' spoken in the native language of twenty staff members working at the time for the franchise company Pret A Manger. Pret A Manger's workforce comprises people from all over Europe. It is originally a British company, but like most of the UK's manual labourers there is not even one British person per one hundred employees.
If ‘[Li:ving] London’ is a work that shows the daily life of a worker and artist living in a city with the focus on my narration, ‘Brexit-365’ can be said to change the perspective in that it involves the participation of several people who have worked for many years in the same space together. There is value to be gained from uncovering the trivia of everyday life to reveal the fluid multiple identities that arise from living through this era of change."