• Issue
  • Nov 01, 2023

Sung Neung Kyung: More Beautiful When Botched

Portrait of SUNG NEUNG KYUNG, at the Reading Newspapers performance at Seoul Art Night, September 6, 2023, organized by Gallery Hyundai. Photo by studio idea & jw studio. All images courtesy the artist and Gallery Hyundai, Seoul. 

With a newspaper held outstretched, a man with a white chin beard, black ponytail, and gray fedora stood on stage. In a declarative voice, he read an article aloud in Korean, then placed the spread on the table before him and cut out a rectangle. He repeated the sequence: lifting the paper up and reading, cutting out a section, and holding the paper in front of his face. Next it was our turn. Lights illuminated rows of tables where more than 100 of us—all non-Koreans—as we stood and mimicked him, reading articles in our native languages, then cutting them out. The German exchange student next to me giggled, mid-Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung article, after I read a quote from politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in The New York Times; the Shanghai art journalist beside me read from Wenhui Daily. When the lights dimmed, the audience in the hall on the fringe of Seoul applauded and we paraded up a hill to a space where we were photographed holding our cut-out pages in front of our faces.