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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Sanghee Song

The Netherlands

Sanghee Song was born in 1970 in Seoul, South Korea, where she lives and works today. She earned both a BFA in 1992 and a MFA in 1994 in painting from the Ewha Woman’s University, Seoul, South Korea. She has had solo shows at Gallery ICON, Seoul; Pool, Seoul; Freespace PRAHA, Sapporo, Japan; and Insa Art Center, Seoul. She has been included in group shows at Seoul Museum of Art; Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Sapporo, Japan; Sunggok Museum, Seoul; Total Museum, Seoul; Kunstcentret Silkeborg, Denmark; Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Germany; and Leeum Samgsung Museum, Seoul. She has also participated in the Busan Biennale in 2004, as well as the Gwangju Biennale and the Sao Paulo Bienal in 2006.

Feminist Artist Statement

I’m just interested in myself. Myself here refers to a woman who was born in middle class South Korea, straight, and without disability.

From this point of view I am not an individual. It is very clear that the group to which I belong is a distinct social stratum. It is also clear that there is a collective memory, behavior patterns to be shared and an ethic that can pertain to this group only.

As a member of this group, I continously ask myself this question: Why do you think and act this way? I realize that there are some things in existence. They are systems like skeletons in the closet. These systems always create heavy pressure on me. Here another question is raised: What really are these systems? What power makes these systems work?

Relating these questions to myself, I’m trying to re-verify this system. This process of questioning and verifying is my work.

After all, I’m talking about my identity.

I believe that I can stand up on any place, but that belief in itself may be a source of pressure, and it may well be that I have been floating on a void.

Thus, I came to have a desire to stand up straight on the spot, and such a desire leads me to ask these questions.

This is a collective obsession and common fantasy middle class women have, which is raised from the ideology of the good daughter, and good mother, and good wife that has been forced on them in the patriarchal society in Korea.

<p>Gesture to be a Good Daughter_ Magic Gown</p>

Gesture to be a Good Daughter_ Magic Gown

The magic gown has three belts. It is created to erase women’s past memories. When a woman puts on this gown with its belts buckled up tightly, her body is twisted by it and then her past memories are vanished.

Gesture to be a Good Daughter_ Magic Gown

The magic gown has three belts. It is created to erase women’s past memories. When a woman puts on this gown with its belts buckled up tightly, her body is twisted by it and then her past memories are vanished.

Blue Hope_ Mangbuseok

This work is based on a legend about a woman who turned into a rock (mangbuseok) while waiting for her husband taken to a foreign land as a war prisoner. Everyday she climbed on a rock and waited for him, who would never come home. She died at last and became a rock.

Blue Hope

I dressed up as a bus attendant from the 1960s on a day off from work. As a bus attendant, I gave a big and cheesy grin to the camera looking like a fresh-faced girl from the countryside trying to make it big in the city. But the fact is that she is missing a left hand and that her hard-earned vacation took place in Wolmido, the island where MacArthur landed his troops in Korea War, 1950

Mother A

I dressed up a symbol of the mother in our history, Korea, whose name was Shin Saim-dang, who lived in 17th century.

The First lady A

I dressed up with a special hairstyle and dress-code as former First Lady Yuk Yeong-su,“The First Lady A.” This work deals with a tragic notorious incident that took place in recent Korean history on the super-power women figure of Yuk Yeong-su. In 1974 Yuk Yeong-su, wife of the Korea’s fifth former president/autocrat Park Jung-hee, was assassinated at a ceremony held at the National Theater in order to celebrate Independence Day. This conspiracy incident has been unsolved and remains a mystery.


Dongduchen, where this picture is taken, is a small city in the northern GyeongGi province, which is about a two-hour drive away from Seoul. The history of Dongduchen began with the settlement of the 24th division of the US Army in 1951as soon as the Korean War ended. The city of Dongduchen, under the beautiful Soyo Moutain, was turned into a city belonging to a US Army camp instead of an independent administrative district of Korea. In other words, the proprietor is the US Army and not Korea any more. I thought about the Korean women who make their livings there while strolling in the red light district of Dongduchen. They are living isolated without enjoying their basic rights as a human and Korean within the society due to the oppression and silence forced from outside.


The place in the photo is a small village called Maehyangri (meaning a village with the fragrance of apricot tree blossoms) located in the Gyeongggi Providence. The Korean Contemporary history of this village is ironic since it is located in the middle of a strong conflict among the US military in Korean government and the local residents over the compensation for the damages caused by the air force bombing in the shooting ground (KOONI FIRE RANGE). According to the Korea-U.S states-of Forces Agreement, the U.S air force bombing exercise site was designated in 1951, which was in the middle of the Korean War. Then, for fifty years Maehyangri has been used as the U.S air force bombing exercising site. Maehyangri, with such a beautiful name, became a dead village because of these ongoing bombing exercises of the U.S military. Two middle school teenage girls are shooting arrows on the seashore of Maehyangri . The next thing we see is the dead bodies of the girls on the seaside. What killed them? Was it a U.S. bomb? When you look at them closely, you would notice they were killed by arrows that returned like boomerangs. Then, Who do you think killed them?

Artist Talk


Sarphatistraat 470
Amsterdam, 1018G
The Netherlands



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