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Barbara Kruger’s makes her way to Seoul, with new works in Korean

The Amorepacific Museum of Art is holding a Barbara Kruger solo exhibition, featuring 44 works from the conceptual artist’s four-decade career, ranging from early paste-ups to new work produced in Korean. Titled “Barbara Kruger: Forever,” the show marks her first solo exhibition in Asia.

Kruger, born in 1945, is an internationally acclaimed American artist best known for works that combine images and text to convey a feminist cultural critique. More broadly, the artist has been exploring the issue of class struggle embedded in male-dominant capitalist societies, the museum said. 

Korean version of Barbara Kruger’s new work “Untitled (Plenty Should be Enough)” (APMA)
Korean version of Barbara Kruger’s new work “Untitled (Plenty Should be Enough)” (APMA)
Barbara Kruger’s “Untitled (Project for Dazed and Confused)” (APMA)
Barbara Kruger’s “Untitled (Project for Dazed and Confused)” (APMA)

She is known for red boxes with white text inside, juxtaposed against black-and-white images with red frames.

Kruger uses simple yet eye-catching elements to build an image apparatus that invites the audience to question stereotypes or beliefs that have been passed down to them.

The latest exhibition at APMA starts with her new mural work produced in both English and Korean. The 6-meter-high and 20-meter-wide mural, titled “Untitled (Plenty Should be Enough),” has been installed at the entrance to the exhibition.

For the translation of the English phrase, Kwon Mi-won, an art history professor at UCLA and a longtime colleague of the artist, talked with Kruger for several days, the museum said.

“Earlier this year, Kruger expressed her great interest in the aesthetics of Korean and also her hope of using the language in her work,” curator Kim Kyung-ran said during a press conference held at APMA in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Wednesday.

The main exhibition space in the basement features Kruger’s “Forever,” a room full of text that stretches all over the walls and the floor. To “activate” the space, Kruger included quotes from Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” and George Orwell’s “1984.”

“You know that women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size,” reads a quote from Woolf.

Shown in the next room are Kruger’s small pre-digital works, referred to as paste-ups. The section comprises a smaller version of her famous 1989 poster, which was used to support the Women’s March on Washington, along with 15 other paste-ups, such as “Untitled (Your gaze hits the side of my face)” from 1981 and “Untitled (You Don’t Need Another Hero).”

“Untitled (You Don’t Need Another Hero)
“Untitled (You Don’t Need Another Hero)" by Barbara Kruger (APMA)

A separate room shows Kruger’s 2010 four-channel digital video installation “The Globe Shrinks,” in which she quotes critical theorist Homi Bhabha, who said, “The globe shrinks for those who own it.”

The four channels are projected onto a wall, and the work asks the viewers to keep turning their heads to follow the episodes in the video.

“Kruger herself coordinated the positions of the seats in the room,” the curator noted.

The exhibition runs through Dec. 29 at APMA.

By Shim Woo-hyun (