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Food delivery captured in art

Placing a food delivery order is not a complicated process, just a few clicks or touches on a smartphone perhaps. Then, you just wait until the delivery person rings your doorbell.

We do not pay much attention to all the steps that are involved in food delivery because we do not need to. Who really cares about which way was taken to get your food delivered to your place?

Korean artist Koo Dong-hee seems to care. 

An installation view of Koo Dong-hee’s “Delivery” at Art Sonje Center (Art Sonje Center)
An installation view of Koo Dong-hee’s “Delivery” at Art Sonje Center (Art Sonje Center)

Koo’s solo exhibition at Art Sonje Center, “Delivery,” running until Sept. 1, is her creative take on the delivery service that has a significant place in the daily life of people today.

“We are living in this world where you can have your food delivered right in front of you anytime you want. I have been also a heavy user of delivery services for a long time,” Koo said.

Koo added that she tried to imagine various steps that may be taken before the food gets delivered.

“When we place an order, there are a lot of procedures that take place between the moment you order and the moment it arrives in front of you. Yet, we are normally unaware of them, especially from a customer’s perspective,” Koo said.

At Art Sonje Center, Koo invites people to an exhibition space that has been turned into a pseudo pizza box and invites them to imagine various delivery processes out of our sight.

“The very first thing I thought of when receiving the floor plan of the art center’s quarter-circle shaped building was an image of pizza,” Koo said.

The visitors are asked to look at things through the eyes of food inside a delivery box.

“I thought that maybe we could find different things if we looked at things from a different perspective,” Koo said, explaining why she decided to turn the exhibition space into a large delivery box.

An installation view of Koo Dong-hee’s “Delivery” at Art Sonje Center (Art Sonje Center)
An installation view of Koo Dong-hee’s “Delivery” at Art Sonje Center (Art Sonje Center)

Koo’s exhibition features cardboard-like installations that function as partitions and form the route for visitors to walk around different sections of the exhibition.

Entering the exhibition space, visitors first see cat tree installations made of cardboard to the right. On the other side is a TV set that traces the daily routine of an unknown delivery man.

Visitors are then presented with two diverging paths to take.

“I wanted to get away from an exhibition of works, which visitors just skim over quickly. So I have designed the space to complicate the flow of the visitors,” Koo said.

In corners, Koo has placed objects that are often associated with delivery, such as a pizza table, a photo of pizza, flyers and disposable plastic products -- things that one does not typically stop to pay attention to.

Koo said her work is not based on a specific artistic trend or discipline.

“There isn’t a clear message I want to deliver. The work is just part of my curiosity and imagination about the delivery system we use on a daily basis,” Koo said.

Koo, 45, is widely known for works dealing with events happening in her surroundings, and collects relevant materials from various media for her works.

She was a finalist for the Korean Artist Prize of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea in 2014. She was also the recipient of the Hermes Foundation Art Award in 2012 and Doosan Yongkang Art Award in 2010.

By Shim Woo-hyun (