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Kyungwon Yoon Weaves a Korean Legend Into the Present

Open Residence / AIR3331

You Might Just Meet A Ghost:
Kyungwon Yoon Weaves a Korean Legend Into the Present
Residency length: 3 months

Kyungwon Yoon flew into Tokyo from South Korea carrying with her a draft of her original graphic novel. Her plan was to complete the full book in Korean, English, and Japanese with the goal of someday selling it in bookstores internationally. With her smart tablet, paints, brushes, and worksuit she went straight to the job in her own way, by drawing both digitally and by hand.

The AIR 3331 team finally got to look inside her graphic novel when Kyungwon asked us to edit and translate her story in Korean into complete English and Japanese. When opening the book, one finds expressive and raw, twisting lines of hybrid fish creatures, light and shadow marked by heavy contrast, and abstract layouts that move in a non-linear flow. As so, the story meanders in and out of the past and present, as well as the human, animal, and ghost forms. When we first asked Kyungwon what the story was about, she told us it was a Korean legend about a king who became a dragon. But with a closer look, it appeared that Kyungwon was telling the story through her own imagination.

With the Nishikicho residence accessible to all of Tokyo's conveniences, Kyungwon made thorough use of the local ACCEA printing shop to produce her book in all three languages. She had changed the title from "The King's Last Will" to simply, "Meat." As shocking as it sounds, the title fits the quite corporeal moments of her story. Now that she had her material, Kyungwon wanted to share her graphic novel with the Japanese audience. This led Kyungwon to join fellow resident at the time, Ignacio Chico , in holding a tent for the Trans Arts Tokyo festival. Here she laid out her graphic novels, with even a stampcard station for the public to make their own fish stories with hand-made stamps. This made her graphic novel a hit with visitors from all over the world who stopped to think, "Meat?"
After catching the attention of festival-goers, Kyungwon went ahead in planning her very first solo-exhibition. Kyungwon drew up the structure and with the support of the 3331 installation team, set up the entire space. Using the 1F Room 101 inside 3331, the exhibition attracted a good flow of foot trafic and 3331 staff, including the installation team members that became a major part of her project. It featured a reading section, an impressive number of two-dimensional and three-dimensional works - even a combined painting/mural/sculpture popping out from the wall! Visitors could travel through all dimensions of Kyungwon's imagination, where ghosts, ancestors, animals, and the living were brought together in real space.
Through her residency, Kyungwon was able to spread her graphic novel across the communities of 3331 and Tokyo, even across the world. The staff at 3331 recently received an original New Year greeting card from Kyungwon, a piece of the quirky cuteness of her fish characters that traveled beyond naitonality and language. As Kyungwon looks to the future in publishing "Meat" and drawing up even more stories, AIR 3331 sends our support and hopes to come across her graphic novels on Tokyo's bookshelves soon.

*Follow Kyungwon Yoon's Work:
We hope the creativity of our past participants will inspire some ideas for your project proposal to AIR 3331!
Period: January 2018 - March 2019 (1-3 months per residency)

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