Houses recreated as installations pose questions about happiness

입력 2021. 9. 21. 14:23
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An Installation view of the exhibition “Chen Dai Goang: Dreams of the Perfect City” (MMCA)

When installation artist Chen Dai-goang traveled to various Asian countries, the buildings there seemed to show how politics, economics and culture of the industrial era had been imprinted on them.

Chen collected and took photographs of the architecture and reproduced them as installation works which are on display at the outdoor space at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea in Cheongju in North Chungcheong Province, the museum’s fourth venue in the country.

The installation works pose questions about happiness and spaces that we are living in, touching on issues such as population density, pollution and rising real estate prices that have gained prominence as most of the world’s population reside in urban environments. Solving these problems has become a matter of desperate urgency, heightened further by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The exhibition “Chen Dai Goang: Dreams of the Perfect City” is part of the MMCA Cheongju Project which aims to support promising Korean artists and showcase their new commissions. Chen produced eight installations inspired by photographs of architecture and furniture.

“Architectural Sculpture / Good-for-Nothing House / 240 Gapa-ri” by Chen Dai-goang (MMCA)

The work “Architectural Sculpture / Good-for-Nothing House/ 240 Gapa-ri” portrays the hard-knock lives of residents in Gapado, a small island located between Jeju Island and southernmost islet Marado. The multicolored installation gives a paradoxical depiction of the lives of the islanders.

The series of “Architectural Sculpture / House without Legs / Kampong Phluk Floating House” is based on the floating houses in the eponymous Cambodian village. These works question the criteria for a happy life, while examining the political and economic history entwined with the houses. 

"Architectural Sculpture / House without Legs / Kampong Phluk Floating House 3” Chen Dai-goang (MMCA)

"This project unfolds on the museum’s front lawn, a venue transformed through an urban renewal project from an industrial space to one of culture,” said MMCA Director Yun Bummo. “The exhibition offers a chance for in-depth examination of the cities and society in which we live. I hope that rediscovering the meaning of the everyday spaces and places we normally pass by without a thought will provide opportunities to reflect on our cities, and on what constitutes ideal lives and spaces.”

The exhibition runs through July 24, 2022.

By Park Yuna (

By Park Yuna(

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