Douglas Gordon
Portrait of Janus (divided states)
2017, 21:21 min
Day 1, Screening 5
15 Dec 2018, 20:00

The Scottish artist Douglas Gordon's new work uses the demarcation line of Korea’s Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), the strip of land separating North and South Korea, to trace a literal and metaphorical boundary.

The work, Portrait of Janus (divided states) 2017, tracks the DMZ border being tattooed vertically along the spine of a young Korean man, Janus Hoon Jang.

The film follows the tattooist’s needle moving down and across his skin and the motifs of the political and personal jar in a private act that is both tender and violent. The delicately balanced contradictions of the emerging image and it's meanings are haunted in real time by Okkyung Lee's improvised accompaniment; a keening, in fact.

The film will be shown for the first time this year at the Art Sonje Center in Seoul in November as part of the Korea / UK Cultural Season. The film will also be shown at the St Columb’s Hall in Londonderry on November 9, 2018 where it will be accompanied by a live performance by the celebrated South Korean cellist Okkyung Lee.

Janus Hoon Jang, adopted by a Danish couple, often returns to Korea to research his family history. He currently lives in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Okkyung Lee (born 1975) is a South Korean cellist, improvisor and composer. She has collaborated with a range of musicians and artists including Laurie Anderson, Christian Marclay, Thurston Moore and John Zorn. She is based in New York, USA.

Commissioned and produced by Locus+, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK/ lost but found film limited, Edinburgh, UKin partnership with the Korean Cultural Centre, London, UK.