If there are things that can be shared a priori without difficulty, the memory is undoubtedly the most obvious. It can be broken up as desired, free of charge and expressed over a wide period of time, and can now be offered to everyone, without any constraints of distance, without even the need for familiarity with the person who disseminates it. Yet, at a time when our desires and memories are being bought, when our lives are being delivered in one click on social networks, memory remains a treasure buried in each individual. Moreover, it can never be fully obtained or fully delivered; for in the face of memories, the imagination is a force that certainly makes it possible to close the gap between the lived fact and the supposed fact, but that also perverts the veracity of past action. It is this impenetrable space that Hayoun Kwon reveals to us.

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L’Oiseleuse, 2018, vidéo. Courtesy Galerie Sator.

First, there’s this story we’re offering him. From this story, she keeps a voice, that of the narrator; the person who experienced this memory. This is the raw material for all his work. And like the clay that the sculptor slides under his fingers, the confession takes shape in the artist’s mind. Of course, like any raw material, it will never keep its original appearance. It is increased, interpreted and finally embodied in Hayoun Kwon’s films. To discover these stories, we must put on a virtual reality helmet and then engage. We often have to take a step, sometimes we have to turn our heads and always listen. From then on, we discover a new memory space, a fantastic territory invented by the artist.

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L’Oiseleuse, 2018, vidéo. Courtesy Galerie Sator.

At the Sator Gallery, the aim is to stroll around in the memory of Daniel Nadaud, Hayoun Kwon’s friend and former teacher at the Beaux Arts de Nantes, whose fabulous anecdote was named L’Oiseleuse. Presented in two dimensions in a room that is not obscure, the film paints a portrait of this place discovered at the end of the sixties by Daniel Nadaud, a previously unknown residence, transformed into a huge aviary by its owner.

Even more so with virtual reality, the projection moment is suspended. This is the magic of the medium, it immediately propels us into a world that, despite its similarities with reality, never reaches it. Far from attraction, virtual reality makes it possible to accurately capture a memory that is based on a real life experience but that has disappeared forever. Where traditional practices would have served Hayoun Kwon’s purpose, by their veracity and tangibility, virtual reality is creating a new dimension nestled between fact and the fantasy that accompanies it.

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Présentation de L’Oiseleuse à l’occasion de l’exposition personnelle The Bird Lady au Palais de Tokyo, 2017.

On the threshold of fiction, Hayoun Kwon opens the doors of a fabulous world where objectivity has been lost. As Louis Leroy did a century and a half ago in front of Impression, Monet’s rising sun, some will reproach Hayoun Kwon for taking his ease on reality, for misleading it. But to reproduce the schema of this skeptic is, in my opinion, the wrong solution. Because a technology that aims to accurately reproduce our reality will inevitably fail – and what a relief! Faced with this inherent surrender of the medium, do they not omit the primary force of art? The one of upsetting the one who answers the call of contemplation.


Camille Bardin
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