KIMCHI - CHANEL (1997)
Plastic and kimchi
11.5 X 9.5 X 4.25 inch
Yesterday, I had an amazing opportunity to visit Chinese contemporary artist Zhang Hongtu’s studio. Among the slides that he had prepared for the studio visit, this installation shot of his 1997 sculpture especially caught my attention. It was one of those rare instance that you can feel the mutual understanding with the artist. The impact was perhaps greater because I was caught off-guard as the possibility of coming across a geniusly laden Korean-centric cultural reference (and therefore, appropriation) wasn’t something that i expected out of a studio visit with a Chinese contemporary artist.
Growing up in the 90s in Korea was a weird experience as it was turbulent time of the constant unfiltered cultural onslaught of western hegemony and the reactionary resistance against it. I was too young to be either aware of or to be part of the cultural conversation, but looking at this sculpture sort of enabled me to retroactively engage with that conversation that I missed out on the first time around.