Jane Jin Kaisen: Currents

Jane Jin Kaisen, Offering – Coil Embrace, 2023, video still
  • Jane Jin Kaisen

The exhibition Jane Jin Kaisen: Currents is a solo presentation of the internationally acclaimed artist Jane Jin Kaisen. The exhibition unfolds a recurring theme in the practice of Kaisen, concerning the sea, nature, and human’s connection with mythology, cosmology and the cycle of life and death. The exhibition presents both older works and Offering – Coil Embrace, a new extensive, research-based video installation that, with outset in shamanic myths and matriarchal cosmology, takes the viewer into the depths of the ocean.

Kaisen's artistic practice spans the mediums of film, video installation, photography, perfor­mance and text. Her works are often based on extensive interdisciplinary research and engagement in minoritarian communities through which themes such as history, mem­ory, trauma, boundaries and geopolitics are explored.

A shared premise for the works in the exhibition is that they all relate to nature, the sea and the lava coast around Jeju Island, located south of the Korean Peninsula, where the artist is born. Kaisen has in several of her works focused on Jeju's political history and militarisation, including the Jeju Massacre in 1947-54 (which came in the wake of Korea's decolonisation from Japan, the Cold War and the division of the country). In parallel with this historical and geopoli­tical interest in Jeju, Kaisen has created works over a period of more than ten years where she has registered the sea and the natural environment of the island and their effect on social, cultu­ral and spiritual conditions. The works in the exhibition thus take their point of departure in Jeju's shamanic traditions, matriarchal cosmology and myths, as well as their connection to the sea and to haenyeo, Jeju's distinctive diving culture and occupation, which was historically the domain of women who fed their families by diving for food.

The exhibition also presents Offering – Coil Embrace, a brand new work, a four-channel video installation filmed with underwater cameras off the coast of Jeju in the summer of 2022. A recurring visual motif in the new performative work is sochang, a long, white piece of cotton cloth that is asso­­ciated with female labour and the human cycle of life from birth to death, while it also has an important spiritual meaning. In Jeju shamanism the cloth, among other, symbolises the passage between the living and the dead and the bridge to the gods. In a poetic and sensual way, the work connects past and present by way of elements like water, cloth and the body and prompts an awareness of the agency and transfor­ma­tive power of nature as well as the intimate relation between humans and nature and our indebtedness to nature.

The new work is one out of a cycle of works created as part of Kaisen’s artistic research project Currents: Oce­a­­nic Cosmologies, Sustainability, Commons, and Infrastructures of Compassion (2022-2024), in which she explores oceanic cultures and spiritual infrastructures across national borders. The project that concerns themes of sustainability and conviviality, oceanic cosmologies, alternative social communities and infrastructures, also negotiates how media art can contribute to conjure other images and stories about human’s relation to nature and its cycle. As part of Kaisen's research project, the work will subsequently be shown in e.g. Shedhalle (Zurich) and Archive (Milan). 

About the artist
Jane Jin Kaisen is a visual artist, filmmaker and professor at the School of Media Art, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. She has exhibited in a wide range of contexts internationally. Kaisen represented Korea at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019 with the film installation Community of Parting. Subsequently, her exhibition Community of Parting at Kunsthal Charlottenborg was awarded “Exhibition of the Year 2020” by AICA, Denmark, and in 2022 she received the Danish Arts Foundation’s three-year work grant. Kaisen has a Ph.D. in artistic research from the University of Copenhagen, an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MA in art theory and media art, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and has studied at Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program.

Book launch and events in connection to the exhibition
In connection with the exhibition, a richly illustrated publication with texts by Signe Kahr Sørensen, director of the Fotografisk Center, and Forest Curriculum, a nomadic platform for interdisciplinary research and mutual learning established by the curators Pujita Guha and Abhijan Toto, will be published.

February 23rd from 5-6 PM: Conversation between Jane Jin Kaisen, Udo Lee and Stina Hasse Jørgensen. Read more here.
February 23rd from 6-8 PM: Book launch of Jane Jin Kaisen: Currents. Read more here.

Image: Jane Jin Kaisen, Offering – Coil Embrace, 2023, video still

The exhibition has been made possible with support from: Københavns Kommune, Statens Kunstfond, DGI Byen, Beckett-Fonden, William Demant Fonden, Knud Højgaards Fond, Konsul George Jorck og Hustru Emma Jorck’s Fond, Augustinus Fonden, Statens Værksteder for Kunst and Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond.

  • Køebnhavn Kommune logo
  • Statens Kunstfond logo
  • Logo for Dgi Byen
  • Beckett Foundation logo
  • Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond
  • Augustinus Fonden logo
  • William Demant Fonden logo
  • Statens Værksteder for Kunst logo
  • Knud Højgaards Fond logo
  • KUV-Puljen Kulturministeriet logo
  • Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansens Fond