A Man without a Country (2023)

Hyesoo Park

A Man without a Country
Shredded Korean banknotes, bluetooth speakers, steel structure, electric fans, survey paper, manual lottery machines, neon sign and hanging steel mobile
Dimensions variable
Credits: Jiyoung Wi (sound mixing) and Sukhoon Chang, Windy Kim, James Gu, Seonhee Park and Songmi Han (voices) Produced by Korea Artist Prize Promotion Fund from SBS Foundation and National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; survey supported by Hanawon, Anseong, South Korea; and Korean banknotes provided by Bank of Korea
Courtesy of the artist

Paradise on Earth
Neon sign and aluminium plate 200 x 500 cm
Credit: Minjae Kim (neon sign designer) Produced by Sharjah Art Foundation Courtesy of the artist


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.