Floating House

Exhibition: 12. 5. – 1. 6. 2011

Opening reception: Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Artist: Hye-Seung Jung (CA)




We are living in an itinerant and time-compressing age, defined by the experience of movement around the globe. Globalization, migration, exile, relocation, on the one side, and new technologies that facilitate instant real-time communication, on the other side, have an unprecedented impact on our lives and have become the central motifs of our culture. Our lives have become decentered and fragmented, at once local and universal, a set of journeys between places and experiences. In times like these, we question our identities and the meaning of home and belonging. Since our identity is formed on the move - a migrant’s tale of transitions and heterogeneity - our understanding of home has also changed. For a world of travelers and journeymen, home is more associated with people, situations, atmospheres, behavioral routines, memories and stories, than to a fixed geographical location. Sometimes, home exists only in our imagination.

In her ongoing project entitled simply House Project (2004 - present) that the installation Floating House is part of, artist Hye-Seung Jung has been working on the topic of the house as a temporary dwelling and whether it is capable of becoming a home. The installation presented within Artfoyer Cavigelli’s Artist’s Window program is composed of white paper houses hanging from floating balloons and white feathers covering the floor. The lightness of the materials used creates the feeling of a temporary dwelling, evoking drift and frailty. The multitude of paper houses floating in the space relates to the topics of migration, travel and relocation, recalling childhood memories and glimpses from past worlds we once inhabited.

In her work, Hye-Seung Jung investigates the notions of movement, memory, place, home and belonging, drawing from her personal experience as a Korean artist who emigrated to Canada. When making drawings or installations in living spaces and art spaces, she often uses easy recognizable elements, like the symbol of the house, balloons or strings, which make her work palpable and easy to identify with. In her Chebudong Project (2008), for example, she uses a network of strings, connecting drawings of specific places in her birth town with their locations on the map; in another work entitled Gibraltar Point Studio (2006), temporary sensory experiences such as body movements and traces of gaze are transformed into tangible three-dimensional drawings of strings, occupying the artist’s studio and bedroom.

What artists like Hye-Seung Jung address in their works are issues that concern us all: they speak about adaptation, connection, loss, home, and the fragments of memory we gather along our journeys towards becoming who we are: holders of split identities in transit. Through their art, some of these artists succeed in creating a communicative home for themselves and their audience – a space of shared feelings and thoughts, where one belongs.