Hyesoo Park’s work takes inspiration from the social landscape
of everyday life—overheard conversations, daily routines and common problems—offering insight into the psychological issues we face in a fiercely competitive society. A Man without a Country (2023) explores the expectation versus reality among North Korean defectors who have settled in the South, having often taken the journey and risked their lives for the money and safety the South seemed to offer. The work features a mobile dangling above a high pile of shredded Korean banknotes accompanied by the sound of people talking, in Korean and English, about the violence and discrimination they experienced upon their arrival. Viewers can turn the handle on an old-fashioned metal lottery machine in the gallery to send banknotes flying across the room.
In the form of a shop signboard, Paradise on Earth (2023) quotes a common phrase that can be found in the propagandist material in the Korean Peninsula. Divided into the North and South in 1945 and in an armistice to the present day, each government promotes itself as the genuine ‘paradise on Earth’ to the other, as a means of psychological warfare.