an abstract action for beauty


“The action was difficult on one hand, because I could not control my behavior. But on the other hand, I felt free because I couldn’t apply makeup perfectly anyway. Tat’s why I don’t have to make a lot of efort to be pretty. I just had a lot of fun.”

The project was carried out three times between 2018 and 2019. I perceived putting on makeup as a social task that only women were required to perform. Although I normally do not wear any
makeup to go out, I always felt a little pressure without makeup, as almost all women in Korea apply makeup on a daily basis, and it is socially required. I was often told that my appearance
was more beautiful when I put on makeup. A friend of mine never leaves her house without makeup, even if she is just going grocery shopping. Not only in Korea, but all over the world,
appearance and being pretty play a major role, which is directly related to an individual’s perceived value. In my opinion, this reflects an unhealthy society. I thought that giving someone
a task that is not so easy to control—putting on makeup on a trampoline—would make the person feel rather free. In this way, I would like to deconstruct a supposedly normal situation.
Applying makeup requires a lot of concentration and a mirror. In order to challenge the notion of control, I gave my friends the task of putting on makeup without a mirror while jumping on a trampoline. After shooting a video of this, I also photographed the participants.

Montagehalle in Braunschweig 2018

In the second attempt, I wanted to expand the meaning by focusing more on the “uncontrollable situation” than on simply interpreting the act of applying makeup as a woman. The coincidental
facial paintings and the results obtained through this act were interesting, and I wanted people to feel a sense of liberation through this activity. A trampoline was installed during the Open Studio
2018, and anyone, regardless of age or gender, could take part in the project. After presenting them with a variety of conventional cosmetics, I asked the participants to make themselves more beautiful. And I added an interview. After taking the pictures, participants were asked various questions about beauty. First I started asking questions about their appearance, and then I gradually asked deeper questions, such as “what has been the most beautiful moment in your life?” By answering different questions, they came to think about beauty in different ways. The last question was “What is beauty to you?” This project was carried out for three days. During the first two days, twenty-five people took part, and on the third day, I shared the printed photos with them. The following is a collection of photos of the participants and their final answers to the interview questions.

Gütermarkt in ZK/U Berlin 2019

This part of the project was carried out as part of the “Gütermarkt” event of the ZK/U (Center for Art and Urbanism) in Berlin in September 2019. This time I wanted the project to take place in a
public place. In the third part of the project, there were 13 participants. The ZK/U sees itself as a laboratory for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary activities focusing on city phenomena and
offers residencies for artists and researchers. The “Gütermarkt” takes place monthly and connects the artistic location within the community. Against this background, the ZK/U was the ideal place to carry out the project. It was planned to show the results in an exhibition in the ZK/U afterward. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the exhibition could not be implemented. Instead, the photographs were shown in the form of posters outside the ZK/U.

ZK/U Berlin 2020