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The Noren Project-Complex Topography, Folkestone Fringe in Parallel with the Folkestone Triennial 20

The Noren Project, Installation with wood, calligraphy on fabric, 2.1×2.0 meter, 2017

A Collaboration work with Chinese Artist, 'Gao Kang'. (

[Complex Topography, Folkestone Fringe in Parallel with the Folkestone Triennial 2017]

Through a stranger’s eyes, many objects could be seen as a unique, special object. Me and my partner Kang, were both came from abroad. A Korean who studying in Japan and A Chinese who studying in UK. First, we met each other in Tokyo and we were going to have an exhibition in UK. We had same desire to make an art work by an object that can be found in Japan. The object we found was Noren. Noren, which is a textile banner that Japanese Izakaya and restaurants hanging as a meaning of ‘welcome’.

Our work was inspired by Japanese cultural object but, we transformed it as a mixture of culture. We put calligraphy ‘Fish and Chips’ as mixing Korean and Chinese characters. While we put some stamps of the foods that local pubs sell on it. Also, we put the logo looks like a Japanese Kamon, but me and Kang designed it for Folkestone, inspired by Late spider orchids which is the most common flower in Folkestone. With this logo, and mixture of Asian text written as a calligraphy and the stamps, we intended our work to be seen as a Japanese object to the local people who might don’t know much about Asian culture. However, it was neither Japanese, nor British, Korean and Chinese.

Not only satisfying of making a work for the pavilion, we wanted to enlarge the exhibition place beyond the pavilion. Furthermore, we also wanted to extend the duration of the exhibition not only enlarging the place. Including Folkestone Triennial, the exhibition of ‘Complex Topography’ was supposed to be held during the short period. Therefore, me and my partner were curious about how we can enlarge a placeness, and get a sustainability of the art work while interacting with local society and the local people. For that reasons, we decided to make a small version of Noren as well so that we could give it to the local pubs and bars.

Above all, to complete this project, we needed to build a relationship with local people who run the pubs and restaurants in Folkestone, to ask them to participate the project as hanging norens up to their shops. we asked ten local shops and all of them agreed to do it pleasantly. We thought, our work might change the culture of Folkestone in the future as well. Most of the historical, and famous local pubs and restaurants hanging the Noren, so other shops will also want it and make something look like our Noren and hang it for themselves probably. Who Knows, otherwise at least, we will see our works whenever we go back to Folkestone, even though our exhibition and triennial of this year will be gone.

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