[The Neighborhood Artists] Re:born Party

Yongin_Dongchun-dong Studio(Changhwan Kim, Dongsik Roe, Sangwook Bae)



Remembering the last of the studio at Dongchun-dong


Italo Calvino’s novel takes the form of Marco Polo telling stories to Kublai Khan, the emperor of China about cities Marco Polo himself has seen in his travel. But the cities are not real but imaginary. In the sight of Calvino, a lot of memories, desire and symbols are involved in one city, and there are extremely various ways to interpret these. And Calvino describes the various involvements in this novel. The description reveals that a city is an unstable space where appearance and disappearance recur rather than a simply static substance.


    The catalogue of forms is endless: until every shape has found its city, new cities will     continue to be born. When the forms exhaust their variety and come apart, the end of cities     begins.

From 『Invisible Cities』, Italo Calvino


The instability still lasts in the city we live now. There were artists who had endured the instable movement at Dongchun-dong Sooji-gu Yongin-si Gyeonggi-do where a massive apartment complex will be built. They are three artists; they arranged time to remember the studio at Dongchun-dong which will disappear to be a city of the past making way to a new city under the name of redevelopment.



Artist Changhwan Kim, having built a nest in this studio 7 years before, remembered the studio as an invaluable opportunity given to him at the moment in need. When he started to study late and was a college student majoring fine arts, he had a hard day working as a boiler technician or on the construction sites. The studio, therefore, must be the only space in which enables him to introspect on his life. So he defines the studio as ‘a space of perseverance’. The studio is full of painful but valuable time of the artist who perseveres in fighting against himself.

Changhwan Kim, Dongsik Roe and Sangwook Bae share the studio at Dongchun-dong. These days I often heard news that sharing house is very popular with the youth. Long before this, there were times when collaboration or joint work became prevalent in the art world, and the way of work has been on track and is familiar now. Nevertheless, modern people are poor at considering, respecting and living with others. Efforts for living together could be found here and there in the studio. Studio rules hand-written in the old paper was at the entrance, which showed the attractiveness of the shared studio.


All three artists said, there is a definite advantage in sharing a studio. Artist Sangwook Bae said it was a comfort for him to be with his friends to get it out over a drink, of one mind and help him when he had a difficult time with working by himself like falling into mannerism. In fact, three artists have in common in that their main vehicle is a sculpture but they study properties of completely different materials such as iron, cotton and wood. Sometimes they could get hints for the unsolved issues from each other because they have different ways of solving the problems on the materials they deal with. And sometimes just encouraging could be comforting. ‘Sharing’ studio had a special meaning which is different to living together.

I seemed not to take the transformation of a place serious before I heard the story about the studio at Dongchun-dong. When I made my first visit to Dongchun-dong after having heard of the story, all the pretty old facilities nearby that would be demolished soon looked pathetic. And one day when I saw the newspaper advertisement on ** apartment complex at Dongchun-dong, I realized it would not be long. Artist Changhwan Kim felt sorry for leaving there because the transportation at Dongchun-dong is convenient running in all directions and it was perfect for artists who have frequent off-studio activities like exhibitions and meetings. In the capital area it would be difficult to find a place that is as quiet, inexpensive and convenient for transportation as Dongchun-dong, he said.



In any case, now is time for each of them to leave for a new nest, and they had Re-born party to support the Re-born of their studio and themselves on that evening. Attendees at the party were diverse; acquaintances who usually support the artists, young students and civilians who visited here for the first time, and even neighbors who has been indifferent for years. And the artists who had embraced the transition talked about being sorry for leaving Dongchun-dong and being excited about and looking forward to a new studio. All attendees promised to keep all memories of Dongchun-dong artists shared. But they did not make a special effort to hold any special events to visualize the memories. In fact, the memories were too heavy that it took a long time for attendees to digest and they looked filled with emotion. There might be various ways of remembering a place, but they decided that they gathered at one night and kept memories on the studio in their eyes, ears and hearts. Someday even if Dongchun-dong in our memory does not exist anymore, attendees will be able to prove that there were artists.


At the end of the party, I asked the next move of the three artists. Changhwan Kim answered he was preparing for the new studio at Yangpyeong, Kyeonggi-do. He looked as if his emotions swung between fear and excitement about the new work environment. Sangwook Bae prepared for the new studio that is not far from Changhwan Kim’s one. Maybe it seemed to be difficult to let old friends go. Unlike the two, Dongsik Roe made a decision to move in another joint studio in Kwangjoo, Gyeonggi-do. He may fall in love with the charm of studio sharing. I could read their sincere support of one another’s next move in their eyes.

After two or three months, Changhwan Kim gave me an update on them. It was not even a month after Re-born party, they emptied the studio entirely and they are trying to settle down their own new nest. And he said “I dropped by our previous studio at Dongchun-dong by chance, it vanished into thin air.” Then there was a long pause. At the moment, I think we had similar thoughts and feelings. After the phone call with him, he sent me several pictures; Dongchun-dong now vanished and Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi-do where his new nest is being built.


A new city started to be built at Dongchun-dong and the artist started to build his new studio at Yangpyeong. Now all of us seem to be familiar with instability of this wriggling city. Perhaps are we watching the situation indifferently for we are accustomed to the unstable state which is so fast-paced as not to remember anymore? When carefully looking at memories, desires and signs which are piled up and tangled under the skin of a city, we will be able to bring up our memories on various emotions such as sadness, anger, and joy of life. The Re:born party which colored one night of Dongchun-dong became a grain decorating the space of Dongchun-dong and planted touching experience in our memory, and I believe all the emotion will be coming back while we recall the memory when passing by the fancy apartment complex of Dongchun-dong.


Written by Nari Kim (Creative Director/Art Critic)

#Yongin #The Neighborhood Artists #The Neighborhood Arts #Gopenstudio #Artist #Art #Studio

@Changhwan Kim @Dongsik Roe @Sangwook Bae @Nari Kim @Lee Jin-sil @Son Hye-joo

  • ggc

    Writer/ 경기문화재단

    About/ 경기문화예술의 모든 것, 경기문화재단

  • ggc

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