Artists  Continent  Asia 

Sojung Jun

La nave de los locos

Sojung Jun was born in Busan, Korea in 1982. She lives and works in Seoul. She received a BFA degree in Sculpture at Seoul National University and a MFA in Media Art at Yonsei University.


Sojung Jun’s idiosyncratic videos and installations evolve around the personal stories of people experiencing different forms of exile: self-imposed or forced, physical or mental, political or social. These narratives, often obscure and incomplete, serve as a departure point to reflect upon the position of the artist in contemporary society and the significance of creativity within the long span of life. Central to Jun’s practice is the notion of translation. Viewing language as a form of isolation, the artist investigates different methods of semantic and formal conversion: from reality to moving image and from image to sound, text and gesture. These are not complementary but rather parallel systems of conveying meaning that combine into complex yet poetic and personally tinged imagery. In the process of translating, re-writing and editing the material, gaps and separations emerge – to be filled in with the experiences and observations of others. 


La nave de los locos (2016) is a multilayered film that comprises of four seemingly unrelated scenes. The Hieronymus Bosch painting depicting Plato’s allegory of the ship of fools is analysed on the flat screen of the computer. The cursor slides over the painting’s details, zooming in and out in response to the user’s curiosity. The camera moves on to span the city and the sea’s waves – a shift between the past and present, myth and reality. A female skateboarder appears, as if gliding over the water. She delves into the city, navigating Barcelona’s narrow streets. The text that accompanies it, emotionally and directly referencing the stories of immigrants, pulsates along the incomprehensible visual noise of the cityscape.


The artist’s direct inspiration for La nave de los locos was the book of the same title by Cristina Peri Rossi. An ‘artist is born to be exiled’ – this insight of the book’s Uruguayan author encapsulates her own personal story – a writer, translator, and left-wing and gender activist, who found refuge in Spain following a coup d’état in her native country, where her books were banned.  Referencing the novel in her own work, Sojung Jun seeks a counterpart story of a female artist on the move, with universal overtones regarding social and cultural divisions and stratification today.


Linguistic diversity seems to be one of many obstacles in the process of integration and communication. In the dark, a blind dancer tries to replicate Bosch’s imagery conveyed to him via a verbal description by the artist translated from a foreign language into his own. His dance in the dark – which delegates his blindness to the viewer – is a tactile monologue, a performance that expresses what remains unseen, embracing the dissonance between what is visible and familiar, and un-representable and alien.

Sojung Jun

La nave de los locos

Video installation

Year: 2016

Duration: 22 min 50

Video produced by the Han Nefkens Foundation


Born 1982, South Korea
Works in South Korea


In Search of Global Poetry: Videos from the Han Nefkens Collection
28.07.2017 – 29.10.2017
Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Quito
Montevideo y Luis Dávila, Montevideo, Quito, Équateur

Kiss me Quick

SongEun Art Space, Seoul

02.06.2017 – 15.07.2017


In Search of Global Poetry: Videos from the Han Nefkens Collection
16.04.2017 – 09.07.2017 
He Xiangning Art Museum 
9103 Shennan Ave 
HuaQiaoCheng, Nanshan Qu 
518053 Shenzhen Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China 

Tell me the story of all these things. Beginning wherever you wish, tell even us

Villa Vassilieff, Paris

14.01.2017 – 18.03.2017


Sojung Jun

Early arrival of future

Sojung Jun

Early arrival of future 

Video installation

Year: 2015

Duration: 10 min 08

Early Arrival of Future (2015) is a video in which a defected North Korean pianist and South Korean pianist play together after they go through a process of meeting, having conversations, and reach a consensus. Through this, the artist asks and experiments what kind of meanings art can have in different systems of society, and whether artists can overcome ideological and political conflicts with an artistic imagination.


How can we picture a place we have never been? More than any other unknown world, for our generation North Korea stimulates curiosity. When I met the North Korean defector and pianist Kim CheolWoong, I sensed the gap between the real North Korea of which he explained to me and the North Korea of my imagination. Furthermore, I was interested in seeing the difference between the perceptions manifested in his art and my art. 

For this project, I invited the North Korean defector and pianist Kim CheolWoong and South Korean pianist UhmEun Kyung. I postulated certain restraints for each of them and suggested they reach an agreed upon piece of music by communicating and overcoming those restraints. They met many times in order to share musical ideas and, although vaguely, discovered their differences while sharing ideas about their musical education, musical styles, ways of analysing music and their life stories. Observing this process, I hoped they could select the differences between their lives through the music. As a result, the piece of music Sinabro began to reveal itself ‘little by little before anyone knew it’ just like their meeting. 
The video presents their last joint play; it shows two Korea’s ideological confrontation, their color and how they overcome such confrontation through musical solidarity. Twelve cameras that surround the two pacifists are a metaphor for the various outside powers and views that observe these relations. Towards the end of the play, the cameras’ angles cross and the powers weaken when two pianists play the motif from the Korean fold song Ganggangsullae and melodies with traditional Korean pentatonic scales: Joong, Im, Mu, Hwang, and Tae.

Introducing the Music

Sinabro is a piano duet composted and played by North Korean defector and pianist Kim CheolWoong and South Korean pianist UhmEun Kyung. The main melodies of the piece come from the North Korean folk song YonggangGinari and South Korean children’s song Mother and Sister. The title ‘Sinabro’ is a metaphor for the process wherein two artists build the music together through communication and consultation. 

The first section has a quiet and noble air that leads listeners into a peace of childhood. The second section is composed of complex and staggered melodies, which shortly but impressively symbolised ideological confrontation and disputes was two Koreas take different paths. The third section introduces North Korean composer UhmSeung Nam’s part alongside the North Korean folk song YonggangGinari. Longing Ginari is a folk song from Pyongan-that farmers sang during rice planting. It has a fancy, lively, and passionate atmosphere with a beautiful melody. The following tune is UhmEunkyung’s arrangement of Mother and Sister that emotionally and delicately expresses sorrow. Built on Kim Sowol’sfolk poetry, the tune appeals with a repeating, monotonous melody. The fourth section visualises a harmonious atmosphere and pictures two Koreas following each other through the main melody of a Korean folk song Ganggangsullae and with traditional Korean pentatonic scales: Joong, Im, Mu, Hwang, and Tae, that were commonly used in YonggangGinari and Mother and Sister.