Yeonji Triptych

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by Bea de Sousa 

Dec. 2013

Regardless of the presence or absence of an audience Bada Song performs in various media. Hypnotically repetitive gestures create densely layered surfaces on paper and her signature ‘sound pipes’. One of her ‘soundepipes’ is patinated with countless dabs of nail varnish and lipstick. Emanating from this pipe is an recording of an emotively political song familiar to most Koreans. The song’s title Bong Sun flower refers to a nationally recognised cultural symbol in Korea and the song is a central feature of Theresa Cha’s Dictee as the mark of belonging: ‘Standing in the Shadow, Bong Sun Flower […]’. The Song was forbidden under Japanese occupation. In the live event for this exhibition Bada Song articulates this song concealed beneath a hand-sewn patchwork of red circles, cut from cloth remnants. The red circle – while alluding to the Yeonji (traditional marriage make-up) and obliquely to the Japanese flag- is also a form which is hermetic and infinite. In her varied works: the manipulated mis-en-scene photograph of a Korean bride (Yeonji, 2013), the sound pipe (Yeonji-Bongsunwha, 2013), and her performance (Yeonji-Garigae, 2013 a sense of territory, body and shelter signify a demarking of a ‘Korean-as-immigrant’ identity. The unfamiliar as a means of detachment is a central them in Thresa Cha’s works and is imbued with new currency in Bada Song’s triangle of performance-led pieces.

from: ‘A Portrait in Fragment: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha 1951-1982′ catalogue